Living on the East Side of Providence, I walk past The Lincoln School almost on a daily basis. I’m quite familiar with the all girls private school, and have conducted a few songs on their performance stage.

I, however, had never attended their famous Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors…not until this past Saturday that is!

This annual event is open to the public, and will surely be on my calendar for years to come!

When I was in elementary school, back in the Iron Age, our book fair consisted of tables of books, bookmarks, and fun shaped (and totally impractical) erasers – all stacked up in neat piles in our cafeteria. My parents would give me ten dollars, and I would go hog wild!

So – take fond memories of book fairs like mine, and now multiply it times a million. The result, my friends, is the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors.

Lincoln opens its vast facility to host not only a pop-up shop style book store, but also forums where you can meet and listen to presentations by nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators.
For example, this year’s guests were:

Avi (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle)

Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons)

Kimberly Newton Fusco (Tending to Grace)

Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark & Grimm)

Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket)
Bill Harley (musician, author of Lost and Found)

Laurie Keller (Arnie the Doughnut)

Jarrett Krosoczka (Good Night, Monkey Boy)

Kate Messner (Over and Under the Snow)

Gregory Mone (Fish and Dangerous Waters)

Susan Rich (Editor-at-Large for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Susannah Richards (professor of reading and language arts at Eastern Connecticut State University)
Dan Santat (author and illustrator of Sidekicks and the illustrator of many books, including Because I’m Your Dad, Oh, No! and Oh, No! Not Again!, and Crankenstein at the Zoo. He is also the creator of Disney’s animated hit, The Replacements)

Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Jumanji)

Festival goers were able to listen to each author and/or illustrator give a 30-min presentation, and also meet and talk with them – as well as have their books personally signed!

Parents, kids, babies galore – everyone wanted to meet and greet their favorite authors!

There were the most interesting signs created by a parent, Anne Carty, which not only had the author’s name, but had it designed to showcase some of their stories!

Below is a pictures of two enthusiastic youths having their books signed by Kate Messner!
My favorite signature of the day was by Jarrett Krosoczka!
Students’ artwork hung on the walls as we waited in line for signatures.
Itty Bitty made friends along the way, lost a sock, and drooled all over our carrier. He had a grand old time!
A character from Where the Wild Things Are wandered the rooms!
The highlight of my day was having one of my favorite stories – The Polar Express – signed by Chris Van Allsburg
Seeing how Itty Bitty loves to eat anything in his grasp – especially tasty books, my newly autographed Polar Express, and copy of Jumanji I also had signed at this event, are going to be put away for a year or more. Rest assured, I’ll purchase a backup set to read to him for now…but I’ll be saving the signed versions until a later date when his appetite for paper an ink has lessened.

There was a musical performance by Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, craft making areas, and lunch from the fabulous food trucks – Hewtin’s Dogs Mobile by Chez Pascal, Fancheezical Grilled Cheese Truck, The Gilded Tomato, joedega, and Like No Udder.

Be sure to follow The Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books & Authors on FACEBOOK and TWITTER so you can have information for next year’s event! It’s something your entire family will enjoy!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event for free in exchange for a blog post. All opinions expressed in this article are mine and are wholeheartedly true 🙂