Center for Children’s Literature

BookFest @ Bank Street

BookFest logo

BookFest is an event devoted to the celebration, discovery, and discussion of books for children and teens. This event, designed for adults, features luminaries from the children’s literature community. Authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and scholars will take part in panel discussions and breakout sessions.

BookFest was founded in 1971, by Frances Henne, a faculty member of the School of Library Service at Columbia University. The event was originally known as Let’s Talk About Books for Children and Youth Day, or Velma Varner Day, in honor of Henne’s close friend and colleague, Velma Varner, editor of Viking Press. The event has been hosted by Columbia University, Teachers College, and the New York Public Library. Bank Street College of Education has been a proud producer of this wonderful event since 2010.

Virtual BookFest @ Bank Street, Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education is thrilled to announce that Linda Sue Park, author and storyteller, will be our keynote speaker. For over forty years Linda Sue Park has been creating literature that reflects her Korean heritage and the immigrant experience. She is the author of 14 novels, 12 picture books, three anthologies, and 2002 Newbery Award Winner for A Single Shard.

Thanks in advance to our wonderful sponsors. Their contributions help keep the cost of BookFest affordable for everyone.

Register for BookFest @ Bank Street


9:00 AM – 9:30 AM (EST)
Chat Room

9:30 AM – 9:35 AM (EST)
Welcome by Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature, Bank Street College of Education

9:35 AM – 10:35 AM (EST)
Re-imagining Beginning Readers

  • Kevin Henkes, Waiting, The Penny series
  • Lulu Delacre, Rafi and Rosi series
  • Jerdine Nolen, Freedom Bird, Bradford Street Buddies
  • James Yang, Stop Bot

Moderator: Caroline Ward, Youth Literature Consultant

10:35 AM – 11:35 AM (EST)
Middle Grade Authors: Putting Yourself on the Page

  • Veera Hiranandani, The Night Diary
  • Jasmine Warga, Other Words for Home
  • Aida Salazar, Land of the Cranes
  • Alicia D. Williams, Genesis Begins Again

Moderator: Kelly Yang, Author, Front Desk, Three Keys, Parachutes

11:35 AM – 12:05 AM (EST)

Pre-recorded publisher sponsored videos

  • The Story Behind Storytelling Math: A Conversation with Grace Lin, Marlene Kliman, and Alyssa Mito Pusey (Charlesbridge).
  • Beyond the Book with Artist, Frank Morrison. Frank talks about creating the stunning illustrations for the story of the sports icon and civil rights advocate in  Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball (Abrams).
  • Dear Beast series: author Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrator Kevan Atteberry tell the story behind the letter-writing furry frenemies in their new chapter book series Dear Beast—complete with a drawing lesson! (Holiday House).
  • All Because You Matter, The Book of My Heart: Tami Charles and Bryan Collier discuss their picture book as a love letter to Black and Brown children everywhere (Scholastic).

12:05 AM – 1:07 PM (EST)
All American or Forever Foreigner: The Un-easy Balancing Act of Asian American Voices (Pacific Rim)

  • Kao Kalia Yang, A Map Into the World
  • Christina Soontornvat, All Thirteen: The Incredible Rescue of the Thai Boys Soccer Team
  • Minh Le, Green Lantern Legacy
  • Cynthia Kadohata, A Place to Belong
  • Robin Ha, Almost American Girl
  • Abigail Hing Wen, Loveboat Taipei

Moderator: Roxanne Hsu Feldman, Librarian, Dalton School

1:10 PM – 2:10 PM (EST)

(Participants are expected to read all of the work listed by the group session leader prior to attending the reading group discussion).

2:10 PM – 3:10 PM (EST)
Creativity Meets True Stories: Non-fiction YA

  • Deborah Heligman, Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the “Children’s Ship”
  • Candace Fleming, The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh
  • Joseph Bruchac, One Real American: The Life of Ely S. Parker
  • Carole Boston Weatherford, Beauty Mark: A Verse Novel of Marilyn Monroe
  • Marilyn Nelson, A Wreath for Emmet Till

Moderator: Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous, Bomb, Undefeated, and Born to Fly

3:10 PM – 3:40 PM (EST)
Closing Keynote

  • Linda Sue Park, Author, Prairie Lotus

BookFest @ Bank Street 2020 Virtual Book Store

Books listed on the 2020 BookFest program can be purchased at BookFest @ Bank Street 2020 Virtual Book Store.