By SABRA HOEPPNER
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The James C. Kirkpatrick Library will host its 46th annual Children’s Literature Festival March 16-18 at the University of Central Missouri.
The three-day festival is designed for children in grades 3-10. Authors and illustrators come from all over the state to share their work and experiences with students.
“The purpose of the festival is to give children an opportunity to meet with authors and illustrators and to have them realize they are people just like us,” said Naomi Williamson, director of Children’s Literature Festival. “The authors often talk about how hard it is to sometimes get published but they persevere even after being rejected. It is important to let kids know to never give up.”
This year’s festival will have 34 authors and illustrators in attendance. This includes the author of “Laura Ingalls Wilder,” William Anderson. Other authors and illustrators attending are Mary Downing Hahn, C.S. Alder, James Kennedy and Missouri native June Rae Wood.
Sandy Asher, Alane Ferguson and Stuart Gibbs have canceled.
Williamson said approximately 3,600 students will be at the festival this week, which is about 500 students fewer than last year. She said the drop in numbers could be due to snow days and spring break.
With large numbers in attendance, the library faculty seeks the help of as many volunteers as possible. Altogether, 160 volunteers and 15 faculty members have committed their time to the festival this year.
Associate Professor Alice Ruleman said she has worked at the Children’s Literature Festival since 2008. She said she enjoys the festival as much as the kids do.
“Watching the kids with the authors is rewarding for me,” Ruleman said. “They are so excited to see these authors and illustrators. They have read their books and when it’s time to ask questions, they all have their hands up. It is really exciting to see their enthusiasm.”
Pre-registration is required to attend all festival events. The registration fee is $15 for an adult and $8 for a child. Individuals attending the luncheon on Sunday must pay an additional $25 for adults and $17 for children.
The luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Elliot Student Union Room 237. Guest speaker Henry Cole will talk about his journey to becoming a bestselling children’s book author and illustrator.
Following the luncheon will be a presentation by author and festival founder James Kennedy from 3-4 p.m. He will present “The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival,” which is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create movies that tell the stories of Newbery-winning books in 90 seconds or less.
Book sales will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Union Ballroom. Authors and illustrators will sign autographs after the luncheon.
The festival also brings together authors and illustrators over the three-day span.
“They enjoy the children so much but they also enjoy each other a lot,” Williamson said. “From the time they fly in to when they are in the hotel, they don’t stop talking to one another. We even had one author take a walk to Pertle Springs who then published an e-book with Pertle Springs as the setting.”
Authors and illustrators are scheduled to speak to children in six different sessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Registrants may request authors and/or illustrators they wish to meet by submitting a completed registration form. The registration desk will be located on the first floor of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Book sales will open at 7:30 a.m. in the University Union Room 240.