The Mississippi Book Festival, an annual event which attracts more than 150 authors and thousands of fans each summer, plans to boost its family appeal to ensure young readers have just as much fun as the adults. The free, daylong festival is Aug. 17 at the State Capitol, its grounds and neighboring Galloway United Methodist Church.
Lively exchanges, insights and fun are hallmarks of this popular festival that toasts the state’s literary heritage and focuses on some of the best, brightest and newest books around. Now in its fifth year, the festival will continue its tradition of excellence, welcoming such luminaries as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey and more on the schedule. More than 40 panels will delve into a broad swath of subjects – history, humor, hospitality, diversity, the Delta, mysteries, Mississippi, football, photography and more.
“We always want to have something for kids with authors and activities targeting tykes to teens as well as young adults and beyond,” said festival director Holly Lange.
Top draws for kids this year include Sotomayor, whose life journey is captured in two children’s books adapted from her best-selling memoir, and best-selling children’s author/illustrator Dav Pilkey, with his latest, Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls. As a special treat, each school-aged reader in attendance gets a free copy of Pilkey’s newest book to take home.
Daniel Tiger, the wildly popular star of the animated children’s TV’s “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, also will be onsite to engage and take photos with children.
“We want to attract and entertain as many kids there as adults!” Lange said. “The love of reading starts young and kids of all ages are welcome at the festival.”
Food trucks, booksellers, Capitol tours and music enhance the event’s appeal and help to account for why it has become a summer staple for the Jackson community and beyond. For details, visit msbookfestival.com.