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Two girls listening to an author talk
Young festival attendees at the 2022 National Book Festival. Photo credit: Elaina Finkelstein

A Festival for Families: Activities for Children and Young Readers

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This post was written with help from Ester Luna, 2023 Junior Fellow with the Library’s Signature Programs Office.

While thousands attend to meet their favorite authors or listen to them discuss their newest works, the National Book Festival has even more to offer—especially for families with children of all ages and for teens. Explore a wide array of activities and programs for festival attendees of all ages in Hall DE (Level 2, North Building) of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Young readers of all ages will find author programs that interest them on stages across the festival. Use the schedule filter function of to find programs by stage, event type and genre.

Library of Congress Pavilion & Activities, Hall DE

Make, Learn and Create with the Library
Meet Library of Congress staff members and participate in hands-on activities – make a zine, browse titles from the children and teen stages, try the photography game “Off the Wall,” participate in Braille-based activities, explore how the Library acquires and catalogs items and more. Festival attendees can also learn about volunteer programs with the Library, as well as fellowships and grants offered through the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path initiative.

Roadmap to Reading, Hall DE

Follow the Roadmap to Reading
Take a literary trip around the country by visiting the Roadmap to Reading, sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Roadmap to Reading will feature tables with representatives from 54 Centers for the Book: one for each state as well as tables for Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas. Every year, each Center for the Book selects a children’s book and one for a general adult audience, creating a list of books called Great Reads from Great Places. Pick up a Great Reads from Great Places brochure and visit each table in the Roadmap to Reading to learn more about each state’s great reads and receive an ink stamp; young people who collect all of the stamps can receive a special giveaway at the IMLS booth.

Story District, Hall DE

The Story District, sponsored by CoStar Group
Local storytelling comes alive at the new Story District. Washington, D.C., literary nonprofits join together to celebrate local authors, illustrators and stories. This area features various activities for kids and families, including story times.

Meet Other Teen Book Lovers
The Library’s high school interns will host two teen meetups at the Story District. Meet other teens attending the National Book Festival and chat with current and former Library of Congress teen interns about their experiences and favorite resources at the Library.

Sponsors, Hall DE

National Center on Improving Literacy
Visit the National Center on Improving Literacy booth to experience read-aloud story time, explore how families can engage with children at home to support comprehension skills and participate in activities on word building and the alphabet.

The Scholastic booth will have a fun photo booth, games, giveaways, and visits from Dog Man and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

U.S. Capitol Historical Society
The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will offer children’s items including, Capitol kids tote bags, Capitol coloring books and 50 states playing cards.

The Washington Post
The Washington Post hosts the Post Book World Stage featuring Post journalists, a craft station to make your own bookmarks and tattoos, bike-powered spin art, a spin-to-win prize wheel and more.

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