Top of page

A Festival for Teachers, Students and Families

Share this post:

Two people stand on a staircase in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress
Take a teen-led tour of the resources of the Library of Congress

The following post is by Stephen Wesson, educational resources specialist in the Library’s Professional Learning and Outreach Initiatives Office. It was originally published on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog

Teachers and caregivers, there’s so much to learn and do at the Library of Congress National Book Festival! You can start by sharing these suggestions with the kids and teens in your life, or use them yourself as a roadmap to the 2021 Festival.

Meet the authors! Invite the kids and teens in your life to choose a favorite author or two, or one who’s new to them, watch their video or participate in their live presentation. After the talk, discuss some of these together:

  • What would you ask the author if you could?
    • Join a live Q&A session and share your question, or reflect on what you would have asked the author if you had been planning the festival.
  • What do you wonder about?
    • What surprised you about the talk? What do you wonder about? Has this talk changed the way you think about the author’s work?
  • What does “Open a Book, Open the World” mean to you?
    • What worlds have you opened through reading?

Take a teen-led tour of Library of Congress resources! Teen interns from the Library introduce their peers to a few of their favorite resources from the Library’s website, including Chronicling America, research guides and By the People, the Library’s crowdsourced transcription project. Find these segments at the ends of interviews with Traci Chee, Katie Zhao, Jay Coles and Sharon Flake.

Dance, sign or drum along. Join Library of Congress experts for bonus content that connects National Book Festival authors with music, dancing, games and more. Look for these segments at the end of the interviews with Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, Ann Clare LeZotte, Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall, and Meg Medina and Jerry Pinkney.

Think visually and create. What comes to mind when you think of books? How would you represent that in a picture? Take a look at some of the National Book Festival posters from previous years and find inspiration to create your own drawing, painting or collage.

Find the festival near you. This year, the Library of Congress brings the National Book Festival closer to home. Find events in your area such as watch parties, community conversations, story walks, poetry slams, book club meetings and more, brought to you by local organizations and affiliate Centers for the Book—and learn about Great Reads from Great Places.

Meet Library experts and explore more. Join a webinar with Library specialists about photographs, comics, preservation, genealogy research and more.

To discover more learning and exploration opportunities from the Library of Congress, visit and

Join us for the 2021 National Book Festival, Sept. 17-26. Audiences are invited to create their own festival experience this year, with programs in a range of formats. Subscribe to this blog for future updates on the festival, and visit the festival website.


  1. Open a Book, Open the World.

    What a wonderful theme for a book festival during a pandemic! Books open our minds and spur our imaginations. Therefore they are opening a world that we may or may not have experienced. It does not matter if it is fiction or non fiction, a mystery or a novel, a comic book or a graphic novel.

    A book keeps me company. And during the pandemic I was able to read books that took places in different places. It was like going on vacation. I was transported to Maine, Washington State, Chicago, California and even Ohio! And I never left the comfort of my favorite chair.

    Reading stimulates the brain. As educators, librarians (that’s me), and caregivers, we encourage children to read to prevent an learning slide, but we as adults should be readers as well. Reading also helps keeps us smart and sharp, too!

    I encourage everyone to participate in some kind of reading event with the Library of Congress and the National Book Festival. In 2015 I went to Washington, DC for the festival. I took my mom — the person who instilled the love of reading in me. The book festival was life changing. We listened and met authors who I love and who she loves and who we both love. It was life changing.

Comments are closed.