Captain Underpants series author Dav Pilkey will be the featured Kidnote event speaker and Ordinary People Change the World series co-creators Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopolous along with Rosie Revere, Engineer author Andrea Beaty will lead the Saturday and Sunday children’s parades, respectively, to highlight the children and teen’s programming and events at the 11th annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (DBF).
The children’s and teen programming continues to be a popular cornerstone of the festival. Events include Pilkey’s Kidnote address at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, and parades each morning on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Sunday, Sept. 4. New to the children’s area along Sycamore Street this year is the Sycamore Family Zone, which will feature performances by local arts and educational organizations including Serenbe Playhouse, Wren’s Nest, 7 Stages, and Children’s Museum of Atlanta, as well as appearances by independently published children’s authors and popular book characters, including Elephant and Piggie, created by Mo Willems.
Children and Teen’s Programming Manager, Diane Capriola, the owner of Decatur bookstore Little Shop of Stories, expressed great enthusiasm about this year’s children’s and Young Adult programming.
“The story at the Children’s Stage this year is one that celebrates diversity and ingenuity, as well as the values of community and interdependence,” Capriola said. “I believe that children’s books can change the world as they encourage readers to imagine points of views different from their own — to step out of their own worlds and to try to understand what it is like to be someone else. This year’s children’s lineup certainly speaks to these ideas.”
Festival-goers can obtain Kidnote tickets at A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Books, Little Shop of Stories and Tall Tales Books. Tickets are required but free and limited to four per person. The event will be at Decatur High School’s Performing Arts Center (310 North McDonough Street). Festival-goers are encouraged to take public transportation, walk or bicycle, as on-site parking will be limited because of construction at the high school. Pilkey will launch Dog Man, a book about a crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, at DBF.
Meltzer and Eliopolous, who are behind New York Times’ bestselling books about Lucille Ball and Martin Luther King, Jr., will introduce their newest books about George Washington and Jane Goodall at DBF. Saturday’s parade participants are invited to dress as their favorite and most-admired historical figure — or to just come as their ordinary and awesome selves. The parade line-up begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Community Bandstand on the Decatur Square. The parade will conclude at the Decatur Recreation Center (231 Sycamore Street), the home of the Children’s Stage, which is presented by the Decatur Education Foundation.
For the Sunday parade, participants are invited to dress as their nerdiest selves. Beaty, who will present her newest picture book, Ada Twist, Scientist, leads the way. The parade line-up begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Community Bandstand.
Highlights of this year’s Children’s Stage include a celebration of the power and beauty of picture books through appearances by highly regarded and award-winning illustrators Christian Robinson, Erin E. Stead, Brendan Wenzel, Dan Santat, and Aaron Becker. Local picture book authors and illustrators include Dori Kleber (More-igami) and Acree Graham Macam and Natalie Nelson, co-creators of The King of the Birds, a story of a young Flannery O’Connor.
The Children’s Stage also will feature new middle grade fiction from Sharon Creech (Moo: A Novel), Sara Pennypacker (Waylon! One Awesome Thing) and Lisa Yee (Supergirl at Super Hero High). For young readers of fantasy, intrigue and adventure, Robert Beatty (Seraphina and the Twisted Staff), C. Alexander London (The Wild Ones) and Kevin Sands (The Blackthorn Key) discuss the follow-ups to their respective series. Nathan Hale, author and illustrator of the popular Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, Ursula Vernon (Hamster Princess) and Jennifer Holm (Babymouse) will represent kids’ graphic lit.
The popular DBF Young Adult/Teen Stage (which moves this year to 101 West Ponce Plaza) continues to attract a highly diverse and talented lineup for YA readers of any age. Local favorite Terra Elan McVoy (This Is All Your Fault, Cassie Parker), who led a Decatur Writers Studio workshop for Decatur High School students, will be joined by Jason Reynolds (Ghost) and Kate Milford (The Left-Handed Fate) to discuss the joy and challenges of writing for the tween audience. Jewell Parker Rhodes (Towers Falling), Nora Raleigh Baskin (Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story) and local author Robert Weintraub (No Better Friend) discuss the impact of shared, historic tragedy and the healing that follows.
Victoria Schwab (This Savage Song) and Zoraida Cordova (Labyrinth Lost) explore magical realism in the urban setting. Meanwhile, Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not), Jeff Zentner (The Serpent King), Jaye Robin Brown (Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit) and Shaun David Hutchinson (We Are The Ants) examine the quest for identity in their appearances. Rounding out the Teen Stage are discussions with popular YA authors Sandy Hall, Beth Kephart, Sabaa Tahir and Beth Revis.
For more information about AJC DBF’s children and teen’s programming, visit these links:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (DBF) is the largest independent book festival in the country. Over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-4) tens of thousands from metro Atlanta and beyond will share the historic Decatur Square with world-class authors, illustrators, editors, publishers and booksellers for a weekend filled with literature, music, food and fun. For more information, visit decaturbookfestival.com,“like” Decatur Book Festival on Facebook or follow @DBookFestival on Twitter.