GBF to Include Children’s Village

The Gaithersburg Book Festival (GBF) will take place on the grounds of City Hall in Gaithersburg on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival will spotlight a Children’s Village featuring some of the top authors in children’s literature. The Village will include the Imagination Station, where children can perform or watch professional entertainers; the StoryTime Tent, which will host storybook readings by educators from the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the parents of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III; Writopia Lab Workshop Tent, where where the next generation of budding novelists and poets can hone their craft; and hands-on activities run by local non-profit groups.

Award-winning children’s and teen authors will speak about their recent books and interact with audiences in the Jim Henson and Willa Cather Pavilions throughout the day. Each presentation will be followed by a book signing. All books will be available for purchase in the Politics and Prose Book Sales Tent.

Among the award-winning line-up of featured children’s and young adult authors are:

  • Walter Dean Myers, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
  • Jon Scieszka, former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and founder of “Guys Read,” a literacy initiative for boys
  • Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award finalist
  • Maggie Stiefvater, 2012 Printz Honor
  • Sheila Turnage, 2013 Newbery Honor
  • Mac Barnett
  • Fred Bowen
  • Julia Devillers

Imagination Station
At the Imagination Station children’s stage, festival attendees can be treated to performances by storytellers, puppeteers, jugglers, authors and even a little magic. The curtain will rise with two shows from Penny Theatre, sponsored by Friends of the Library, Quince Orchard Chapter and the Noyes Library Foundation. Other featured performances on the Imagination Station stage include:

  • Arianna Ross & Story Tapestries — Tales about finding the bookworm within are sure to delight families as they sing, dance, wiggle and giggle their way through her stories.
  • Nicolo Whimsey — This juggling, singing, storytelling poet also will perform and engage audiences to learn three of his original poems, including “Louie Grenouille,” a poem about a frog who learned poetry at the library.
  • Flow Circus – Performer Dawn Daria will share her story “Grounded for Good,” where an 8th grader finds himself grounded and ordered to spend his summer vacation “volunteering” in the library; while performer Paul Miller will teach the audience how to juggle.

StoryTime Tent
The StoryTime Tent will feature storybook readings by media specialists, teachers and paraeducators from MCPS, including educators from Diamond Elementary, Fields Road Elementary, Gaithersburg Elementary, Rosemont Elementary, Thomas W. Pyle Middle School and Watkins Mill Elementary. The educators will be reading their favorite picture books throughout the day. Also making an appearance will be Mr. and Mrs. Robert Griffin Jr., parents of Washington Redskins quarterback RGIII, who will read some of RGIII’s favorite childhood books.

Writing Workshops
The Children’s Village also offers free writing workshops for children and teens, presented by instructors from Writopia Lab, a nonprofit creative writing center for ages 8-18. These workshops include:

  • Kids Writing Collaboratively – Group Story (Ages 8+) – 10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
  • College Admissions Essays – What’s Your Story? (Grades 9-12) – 11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
  • How Do You Get Published? Tips from YA Novelists (Ages 10+) – Noon – 12:50 p.m.
  • Monologue, Dialogue – Kids’ Playwriting (Ages 10+) – 1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
  • Making & Marking the World – Teen Poetry (Teens) – 2 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • Scholastic Writing Awards – Mock Judging (Grades 7-12) – 4 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.
  • Big Impact, Small Space – Flash Fiction (Age 10+) – 5 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.

Writopia Lab will also be holding a reading for winners of the DC Scholastic Writing Awards at 3 p.m!

Non-Stop Activities
Back by popular demand will be Leah Taylor, author of “Horses of the Presidents” and “The Adventures of Oreo and Algonquin,” and her pony, Oreo. Children will be able to dress up and get their photos taken with Oreo.

Around the Children’s Village, kids will be able to make bookmarks, reading buddies and other crafts, and find creative ways to express their love of books. Among the groups hosting these fun activities are Family Services Inc., Girls on the Run, the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and Montgomery College Early Childhood Education Group. Rumor has it, too, that Keyote from the Frederick Keys will be making a guest appearance to talk to kids about how much he loves to read!

The festival also will be hosting a book drive to collect chapter books for summer reading throughout the City. Please bring a few of your favorite books or buy one at the Politics & Prose book sales tent on the festival grounds and donate it to encourage youth to read during the summer. In addition, winners of the Mayor’s Book Club reading contest, taking place now amongst third grade classes in area elementary schools, will be recognized at the festival.

Learn more about the Children’s Village activities online at

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