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

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!

Poetry & Publicity : Festival Notes from a National Student Poet

The following is a guest post by 2016 National Student Poet Alum Joey Reisberg. The 2017 class of National Student Poets will perform at the National Book Festival on the LOC Town Square Stage between 2:05pm – 2:35pm. Come check out these talented students and hear them share their magnificent, original poetry. Nothing about the National Book […]

Support the 2017 Book Festival

(The following is a guest post from Sue Siegel, director of development at the Library of Congress.) To Stephen King, the master of horror, a truly frightening scenario is the emergence of a world of non-readers. King, a champion of literacy recognized by the Library of Congress, says that reading is critical to opening up […]

Children’s Guide to the 2016 National Book Festival

Hot off the press, the Children’s Guide to the 2016 National Book Festival is now available! This guide, developed with festival sponsor the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, is the definitive guide for kids and families to plan their day and maximize the fun at tomorrow’s event. Get insider tips and plan your festival schedule Learn […]

Podcast: Gene Luen Yang

In the closing National Book Festival author podcast for 2016, Korey Freeman talks to Gene Luen Yang, our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a writer of both graphic novels and comics. Listen to the podcast here. Every Tuesday and Thursday we’ve shared conversations with authors who will appear at this Saturday’s National Book […]

“A Book That Shaped Me” Contest Winners in Their Own Words

The winners of the festival’s youth writing contest, “A Book That Shaped Me,” were announced yesterday! When we started this program five years ago, our goals were to encourage young readers to reflect on the importance of books in their lives and to foster connections between area youth and the National Book Festival, the Library […]