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A Children’s Guide to the Book Festival from the Mensa Foundation

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The Mensa Education & Research Foundation, founded in 1971, is a philanthropic, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the pursuit of excellence in human intelligence. The mission and strategic focus are directed at scholarships, education and awards. Each year, the Mensa Foundation gives away an average of $130,000 through a scholarship program run by 400 volunteers from coast to coast; presents national and international awards in recognition of research, education and practical achievement regarding giftedness, intelligence and creativity; and publishes the Mensa Research Journal. The Mensa Foundation also sponsors award-winning educational activities and projects for gifted youth.

The following post is a Q&A with Jamie Uphold, the gifted youth and leadership coordinator for the Mensa Foundation, who works with the Library each year to develop the Children’s Guide to the National Book Festival.

2017 Children’s Guide to the National Book Festival >> click image to download


How did the Children’s Guide to the National Book Festival come to be?

Our first year to work with the Library of Congress was 2012. The previous gifted youth advocate with Mensa began working with LOC. The guide was born from her love of literature and desire to make the NBF easier to navigate for children.

What do you hope families get from the guide?

We realize the importance of reading and the enrichment it provides in every area of a person’s life, so we are happy to be able to highlight some of the unique authors and events that this day holds. We hope families are able to use the Children’s Guide as a compass to uncover the treasures throughout the National Book Festival. We hope it becomes part of a beloved tradition for families to use each year’s guide to plan great adventures for their day at the festival.

How do you find content for the guide?

I get a list of the authors from the Library of Congress, and then I start to hunt! I try to find unique information that is not available on the back of a book jacket. I want to find the information that makes me say ,‘Oh, I didn’t know that’ or ‘wow’ about someone. Sometimes that is a factoid like an author keeps every used pen from handwriting their stories, and sometimes it’s that they only eat a certain food as a snack while they write. I love books, authors and the whole experience of creating literature, so I think it is fun to research for the guide.


The 2017 Children’s Guide to the National Book Festival is now available on the Kids & Teachers section of the festival web site. Download your copy today and plan your family’s big adventures for the festival taking place this Saturday!