Virginia Children’s Book Festival Returns to Farmville

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Virginia Children’s Book Festival Returns to Farmville

Posted at 01:08 on Wednesday, October 12, 2022

FARMVILLE — As the new school year begins, students can prepare for the return of a beloved field trip. The Virginia Children’s Book Festival (VCBF) is back in person and ready to spread the love of reading. From Wednesday October 12 to Friday October 14 at Longwood University, students from the surrounding area will come and discover the pleasure of reading.

This festival is designed to be “the best field trip anyone has ever taken”, which means it’s not like other book festivals. Many other festivals revolve around selling books and bringing an author to do a reading. The VCBF offers an immersive and interactive experience to engage students in reading.

“Book readings and book signings aren’t going to get kids’ attention,” said VCBF founder Juanita Giles. “We make it very interactive and immersive.”

The festival usually welcomes many authors who come to interact with the children during the three days. One of the writers includes Pablo Cartaya, who will tell college readers about his new thriller “The Last Beekeeper.” In addition to discovering the book, children will hear from local beekeepers who will show what they use for beekeeping and the importance of bees in the ecosystem.

A History of the Virginia Children’s Book Festival

The idea for this program originated when Giles worked in the children’s section of the Charlotte County Library and went many days without registering a child to borrow a book. After some research, she learned that in southern Virginia, 1 in 5 adults is functionally illiterate.

According to Giles, childhood reading is the best predictor of a child’s success despite money or education. Knowing that teachers work hard to do what they can for their students, Giles wanted to do something to fill that gap.

“Our three main axes are accessibility, desire and diversity,” Giles said. “We want to make reading accessible to all children, regardless of circumstance, to inspire children to want to read, and to empower every child to see themselves in the books they read.”

The Virginia Children’s Book Festival strives to cultivate a desire in every child, regardless of circumstance or background. The non-profit organization distributes 50,000 books a year through book baskets in various locations, in partnership with Worthdays, a Richmond-based non-profit organization, providing children in foster care with a new book on their birthday, holiday parades and other partnerships.

The VCBF has had great success over the years as the first official festival in 2014 had 700 attendees and the last in-person festival in 2019 had 16,000 attendees. Due to the pandemic, the 2021 festival was held virtually with 60,000 attendees from around the world.

“I initially thought these challenges were on the south side, rural challenges, but I learned that was not the case,” Giles said.

Giles expressed his gratitude for the support of Longwood University in organizing the festival each October.

Even though this festival is designed as a field trip, the general public can also make reservations to attend the three-day event. Visit vachildrensbookfestival.org to register or learn how to help bring the love of reading to children.

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