Did you know that there’s an annual book festival in Hudson that features literature for children and young adults (YA) exclusively? And that it’s one of the biggest book festivals in the State of New York? Since 2009, the Hudson Children’s Book Festival has attracted an outstanding, rather large group of authors and illustrators who specialize in producing books for the younger set, to come to the City of Hudson and show their stuff. From picture books for kids just beginning to turn pages to YA and graphic novels, from seriously funny fiction to the informative and fun-factual, the festival celebrates literacy in all its forms.
This free public event is meant to foster reading and nurture a culture of literacy for both bookmakers and readers of all ages. In a daylong gathering, more than 75 authors and illustrators will set up shop where they can talk with educators, parents and kids about their work – or about practically anything, given the breadth of subject matter that’s covered in their publications. That’s because children’s and YA literature addresses just about everything that piques the curiosity of kids these days. The lineup includes some of the genre’s biggest names and others not big as yet; but all have achieved success in creating books that engage young people, even in an era of ubiquitous screen-distraction.
Seymour Simon is the keynote speaker for the event. Honored with multiple awards for his contribution to children’s science literature, he has written more than 300 books and has been called “the dean of the [children’s science] field.” Simon, who has introduced tens of millions of children to a variety of nonfiction subjects, says, “I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than I am in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”
Others who will be in attendance include award-winning author Jane Yolen, who has penned no fewer than 350 books: a feat for which she has received honorary doctorates from six colleges and universities – not bad for writing juvenile lit. Hudson Talbott is an illustrator of more than two dozen books, his latest Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art.
James Ransome has illustrated over 60 picture books including Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, Satchel Paige, This Is the Rope and Before She Was Harriet. A professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University, he too the is recipient of numerous awards.
Best-selling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey’s Choice, What Is Goodbye? Bronx Masquerade, Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ about Bessie, Dark Sons, Words with Wings and The Road to Paris.
The full list, which can be seen on the website below, goes on and on. Check it out, find authors you recognize and go chat with them at the Festival. Check out Moon Landing Photos by Mike Molinski and stop by listening stations to view book trailers that were planned, directed and filmed by Bridget Smith’s fourth- and fifth-grade Enrichment ELT students and participants of Winter Hack. And enjoy performances by John Farrell, Morgan Taylor and the Columbia County Youth Theatre Performing Company.
Hudson Children’s Book Festival, Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., free, 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson; https://hudsonchildrensbookfestival.com.