Less than a month away, the Virginia Children’s Book Festival again promises three days of dynamic and innovative programs designed to inspire children from across the commonwealth to read—or write and illustrate their own stories.
As in years past, the VCBF is anchored by a star-studded lineup of some of the most acclaimed authors and illustrators in the country. The 2017 lineup features Newbery and Caldecott honorees—the most prestigious awards for children’s books—a National Book Award finalist and several New York Times best-selling authors, in addition to up-and-coming writers who are on the cusp of becoming household names.
The keynote conversation, held Tuesday, Oct. 19, in Blackwell Ballroom, will feature the three most recent recipients of the Caldecott Medal—Dan Santat, Sophie Blackall and Javaka Steptoe—in a fascinating talk titled “You’ll Never Win A Caldecott: A Conversation With Three Caldecott Winners.” The illustrators have never before taken part in a unique conversation like this.
Students who attend the VCBF, set for Oct. 19-21 at Longwood University, will laugh, shout, draw and learn from 26 authors and illustrators, including some fan favorites who have returned each year since the festival’s inception in 2015. Authors including Todd Parr, Sophie Blackall, Timothy Basil Ering and John Marciano have captivated the imaginations of more than 10,000 children so far.
“We are one of the few book festivals in the country that bring in so many school groups,” said Juanita Giles, founder and executive director of the festival. “We’re proud of that for a few reasons. First, kids who come back year after year develop relationships with authors—and the authors remember the children as they grow. That’s an invaluable connection. And the diversity that so many school groups bring—kids from different backgrounds and ethnicities all mingling in the same place and developing a shared love for reading—is very special and an intrinsic part of the VCBF. It’s what makes us strong, and that diversity is mirrored in our author lineup.”
This year, the festival has added more comic book creators and graphic novelists to its Saturday programming, which is focused more on families and interactive workshops. Also new will be special programming designed for children with special needs, offered in partnership with Longwood Speech, Hearing and Learning Services at 311 West Third St.
The VCBF continues to be a free event, with every presentation and workshop open to the public.
2017 VCBF Author Lineup and Selected Bibliography
- Javaka Steptoe (Radiant Child, In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers) – 2017 Caldecott Award winner
- Peter Brown (The Wild Robot, Children Make Terrible Pets) – 2017 Caldecott honoree
- Adam Gidwitz (The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want To Be A Jedi?, The Inquisitor’s Tale) – 2016 Newbery honoree
- Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady series) – New York Times best-selling author
- Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado, Burn Baby Burn) – 2017 National Book Award longlist
- Sean Qualls (Before John Was A Jazz Giant, Giant Steps To Change The World) – Coretta Scott King illustration honoree
- John Parra (Waiting for the Biblioburro, Green is a Chile Pepper) – award-winning illustrator and the subject of a concurrent art exhibition at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts
- Selina Alko (The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage)
- Sophie Blackall (Ivy & Bean, Ruby’s Wish, Finding Winnie) – 2016 Caldecott Award winner
- Donhielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things) – YA author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks librarian
- John Bemelmans Marciano (Madeline at the White House, The Witches of Benevento) – original VCBF author
- Lamar Giles (Fake ID, Endangered) – YA author, #WeNeedDiverseBooks founding member, 2015 Edgar Award nominee
- Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Ninja Red Riding Hood) – 2015 Caldecott Award winner, creator of the Disney animated hit The Replacements
- Alexander London (Proxy, The Wild Ones series) – American Library Association Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
- Annie Barrows (Ivy & Bean, The Magic Half) – New York Times best-selling author
- Timothy Basil Ering (The Tale of Despereaux, The Story of Frogbelly Ratbone) – original VCBF author
- Todd Parr (Be Who You Are, The Family Book) – New York Times best-selling author, original VCBF author, Sesame Street contributor
- Tracy Baptiste (Angels Grace, Rise of the Jumbles) – YA author, 100 Best Books for Reading and Sharing by New York City librarians
- Liz Garton Scanlon (All the World, Bob Not Bob!) – Caldecott honoree
- Aisha Saeed (Written in the Stars) - #WeNeedDiverseBooks founding member, best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books
- Charlie Vess (Spider-Man, Stardust) – award-winning comic and graphic novel illustrator; Stardust was released as a major motion picture adaptation in 2007
- Jason Reynolds (When I was the Greatest, As Brave as You, Ghost) – Coretta Scott King Award for New Talent, Time Book of the Year, National Book Award finalist
- Shannon Hale (Princess Academy, Rapunzel’s Revenge) – New York Times best-selling author
- LeUyen Pham (Freckleface Strawberry series, God’s Dream) – best-selling author and illustrator of nearly 60 books; many collaborations with celebrities including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Julianne Moore
- Faith Hicks (The Adventures of Superhero Girl, The War at Ellsmere) – 2014 Eisner Award recipient
- Jamal Ingle (Green Lantern, Wolverine, Wonder Woman) – comic book artist, winner of the Inkpot Award for Achievement in Comic Art
- Anne Marie Pace (Vampirina Ballerina, Pigloo, Groundhug Day) – best-selling author whose Vampirina series has been turned into a Disney television show premiering Oct. 1
More information about each of the authors is available at vachildrensbookfestival.com.