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Countdown to Book-Stravaganza

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The National Book Festival Scout badge
Scouts can get a badge for attending the Festival.

Just days stand between the book-lovers of the USA and the Library of Congress National Book Festival!

But don’t just stare at the countdown clock on the Festival website … check out the speaking and book-signing schedules for our 125 authors, or listen to the podcasts already available from some of this year’s authors.  That will take you away from whatever you’re reading, but it won’t necessarily be a bad thing …

This will be the second year that the Festival will be all weekend – both Saturday (from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.) and Sunday (noon to 5:30 p.m.) on the National Mall.  It’s FREE – that’s right, there is no admission, no ticket is needed, there will be no gate to pass through – and it will go on rain or shine, under the cover of our shiny white tent canopies. If there’s a hint of rain and you aren’t in a chair, bring an umbrella and just stuff in around the edges. Everybody does.

In addition to the major pavilions – History & Biography, Fiction & Mystery, Contemporary Life, Poetry & Prose, Teens & Children, and Children – once again, for younger kids, Target is sponsoring the Family Storytelling Stage, featuring authors and entertainment for those just rounding the corner on one of the great discoveries of life – reading.  There you will find authors ranging from Goosebumps guy R.L. Stine to author Jeff Kinney, friend to wimpy kids everywhere, and musical acts from Disney Junior’s Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve to Hip Hop Harry.

Going with kids? Check out the portion of the website with activities just for them.  Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts can get a badge this year for attending; here’s where to find it.

And don’t miss the Library of Congress Pavilion, where you can find out more about a world-renowned resource that you own and that you can use and enjoy in many ways.  In that pavilion Saturday at 11 a.m., you can hear from Chet Van Duzer and John W. Hessler, authors of a new Library of Congress book about Martin Waldseemüller, mapmaker of the early 1500s.

Saturday, of course, the Library will offer the Pavilion of the States, where literacy organizations from all 50 states and the major U.S. territories will share the magic of their local programs and authors.  On Sunday, that gigantic tent will become two new pavilions: Sci Fi-Fantasy-Graphic Novels (featuring such authors as Christopher Paolini and Craig Thompson) and Special Programs, featuring everything from J.R.R. Tolkien expert Corey Olsen to the winners of a Library of Congress/DC Public Library summer essay contest, in which kids were invited to write about “A Book That Shaped Me.”  The Festival’s supremely talented poster artist, Rafael López, will speak at Special Programs Sunday afternoon, and he will sign books and posters both Saturday and Sunday.

C-SPAN2 Book TV plans to cover both days live, and rebroadcasts the Festival as well. If you can’t attend in person, or if you do but want to revisit the talks you saw (or the ones you couldn’t see because of schedule conflicts), the Library will post all the authors’ presentations on the Festival website in coming months.

And now, a word for our sponsors: the people who make all this possible.  They are David M. Rubenstein, who co-chairs the National Book Festival Board; Target, The Washington Post, Wells Fargo and the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS KIDS; Barnes & Noble; Digital Bookmobile powered by OverDrive, LEGO Systems, Inc. and Scholastic Inc.; the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, The Hay-Adams hotel and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  We also thank the Junior League of Washington (celebrating its 100th anniversary this year!) which provides hundreds of volunteers and The Links, a service group comprised of African-American women who are bringing hundreds of kids from the region to this year’s Festival.

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