When children meet the people behind the pages of their favorite books, wonder and excitement fuel a day filled with learning. At the Rochester Children’s Book Festival (RCBF), authors explain to kids how ideas become stories, illustrators demonstrate how characters are brought to life, and children leave clutching self-made crafts and books signed especially for them — mementoes that will reinforce their love of reading throughout the year. Our volunteers and sponsors make sure the magic lasts beyond a single day by giving back to kids all year long.
Bringing the Festival to City Students
Local author Vivian Vande Velde founded the RCBF 18 years ago, and she now organizes the free Festival-To-Go program for kids who might not otherwise have access. “We recognize that these are the formative years when children are trying to settle for themselves whether reading is something fun to do, or simply something grown-ups inflict on them,” Vande Velde says. She recruits volunteers from Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators (RACWI) to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with K-6 students at one or two Rochester City Schools each year. The presentations are fun and informative, designed to win over even the most reluctant readers. Volunteers participate year after year because they love sharing their passion with such thoughtful, inquisitive kids. Altrusa International, a local service organization and long-time RCBF sponsor a long-time RCBF sponsor, makes the Festival-To-Go even more impactful by donating books to the schools’ libraries.
Giving Back Through Community Partners
The Rochester Children's Book Festival also reaches into the community to forge partnerships. The RCBF is proud to be one of the outstanding literacy programs supported by the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library. Each year, some of the Festival’s earnings are reinvested into the Foundation to support innovative programming, expansion of collections, and improvements to the library year-round.
The Festival also partners with 292-BABY, a communication network that provides parents and caregivers the resources to help every local child reach his full physical, cognitive, and emotional potential. Jim Coffey, founder of 292-BABY and Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Monroe Community College (MCC), has long been a champion of the Festival. He and the leadership at MCC recognize the connection between early literacy and later success in college. They became hosting sponsors of the RCBF seven years ago, providing the spacious high-tech environment that has enabled the Festival to achieve its award-winning level of excellence. Visit www.292BABY.org for information on topics from preconception through age three development.
Vicki Schultz is a member of Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators and a coordinator for the Rochester Children’s Book Festival.
Video from 2010 Book Fest
Get Caught Reading at the Rochester Children's Book Festival!
WHEN: Saturday, November 15th, 10am-4pm WHERE: Monroe Community College
ASL interpreters provided by RIT/NTID
Navigating the Fun, Step-by-Step
From the moment you cross the threshold of Monroe Community College’s Flynn Campus Center, you’ll be transported into a book lover’s dream. A smiling volunteer will hand you a schedule/map, your guide to the fun. On your way to the stairs, you’ll pass Genesee Valley & Rochester Area Parent Magazine’s Busy Bookworm Place, where children can make adorable, book-themed crafts to take home. Upstairs, you’ll find activities and giveaways at the sponsor tables that line the lobby and hallways.
Consult your schedule and choose from topics like “Creating Characters” by Erin Dionne in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Presentation Place, or “Liars and Storytellers” by Aaron Starmer in the Brighton Room. If you’d like to attend a picture book reading, head straight to WXXI Read-To-Me Corner, and keep an eye out for that Big Red Dog at 2:20.
Now you’re ready to enter the hub of excitement: the MCC & 292-BABY Mall, where authors and illustrators are stationed with their book displays, ready to personalize your titles of choice. You can chat and laugh with your favorite authors and meet new ones as their books catch your eye. Take your selections through the Lift Bridge Book Shop line, and enjoy your new treasures for years to come.
Hundreds of families will interact with over 40 authors and illustrators in one magical day.
Award-winning author and illustrator Yangsook Choi is new to the RCBF this year. She is sponsored by Love the Children of Rochester, an organization that connects Korean adoptees and adoptive families locally. Choi’s picture books have received the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award, appeared on the ALA Notable Book list, and been rated “Best of the Best” by the Chicago Public Library.
Influenced by her Korean background, Choi’s stories are culturally rich and beautifully illustrated. They include: This Next New Year (Korean/English Bilingual,) The Name Jar, Landed, Behind the Mask, and Good-bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong. Join Choi at 1:30 on Festival day for a Chinese dragon drawing workshop in the Brighton Room.