Twenty-one authors, many award winning, will visit the city for the inaugural Mansfield Book Festival.
The Mansfield school district will host the event, which includes appearances by Kwame Alexander, Louis Sachar and many local writers, from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts, 1110 W. Debbie Lane.
“The book festival is educational, fun and it's cool,” event co-chair Marie Medina said. “Books snobs should be impressed with what we've laid out.”
The event will feature keynote presentations from “Holes” author Sachar, and Alexander, who received the 2015 Newbery Medal and 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for his work “Crossover.”
Medina said organizers wanted to bring in authors that not only had the influence to headline a festival that they plan to be an annual attraction for Mansfield, but also showcase the diversity of writers.
“One of the concerns in the whole literary world is the lack of diverse authors,” she said. “The students who come and the community members who come they should be able to find someone who wrote a book, that is a published, award-winning author from the same background.”
Medina said the idea for a book festival came after hosting an online book discussion forum with third- and fourth-grade students last year. The students began leading discussions and were staying in from recess to talk about the books they were reading and creating opportunities to meet the authors. The smaller group of students was able to meet four authors, but Medina and other leaders thought the experience could expand.
“Those four were such good experiences but kind of small, here you have this author coming halfway across the country and meeting 30 kids,” she said. “There is a bigger audience.”
Other than keynotes, Medina likened the event to any sort of festival with several activities for students and adults.
There will be storyteller sessions, opportunities for children to read to dogs, meet and greets with authors, a poetry slam and panels.
There will also be food trucks and the Mansfield Public Library will host a craft space for children.
The event is free and open to the public. There will be an on-site book seller.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770
Mansfield ISD Book Festival
When: 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19
Where: Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts, 1110 West Debbie Lane
Guests scheduled for Mansfield Book Festival
Authors, Poets and Storytellers
Cynthia Leitich Smith