Center for Children’s Literature

BookFest @ Bank Street

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.

BookFest @ Bank Street

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 @ Bank Street, Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education is thrilled to announce that Joseph Bruchac, author and storyteller will be our keynote speaker. For over forty years Joseph Bruchac has been creating literature and music that reflect his indigenous heritage and traditions. He is a proud Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and respected elder among his people. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults including Two Roads (Dial).

The program will take place in the Tabas Auditorium at Bank Street College, 610 West 112th Street between Riverside and Broadway. Take the 1 train to 110th Street. If you are taking the 2 or 3 trains get off at 96th Street and continue on the 1 to 110th. Otherwise, you will be several blocks out of your way.

The program will be livestreamed by KidLit TV. You can also access the footage after the event. Thanks in advance to our wonderful sponsors. Their contributions help keep the cost of BookFest affordable for everyone.

Register for BookFest

(Pre-registration only.  No tickets will be available at the door.)


9:00 – 9:30 AM/Lobby

Registration, light breakfast, coffee

9:30 – 9:35 AM/Auditorium
Welcome by Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature

9:35 – 10:25 AM/Auditorium

Illustrating Margaret Wise Brown
Writing for 5 Year Olds by Margaret Wise Brown

  • Greg Pizzoli, North, South, East and West
  • Sarah Jacoby, The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown
  • Lisa Von Drasek, Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota
  • Jerry Pinkney, A Home in the Barn

Moderator: Jenny Brown, former Bank Street Children’s Librarian & member of the Children’s Book Committee

10:25 – 11:15 AM/Auditorium

Native Voices in Our Time

  • Linda Kukuk, Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller
  • Yvonne Dennis, Children of Native America Today
  • Kevin Maillard, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
  • Traci Sorell, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
  • Cynthia Leitich Smith, Hearts Unbroken

Moderator: Loriene Roy (Anishinaabe; Enrolled: White Earth Reservation; Member: Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin

11:15 – 11:30 AM/Break

11:30 – 11:50 AM/Auditorium

Listening to Literature: The Power of Audiobooks

  • Mary Burkey, Author Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature

11:50 – 12:55 PM/Classrooms

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

12:55 – 1:55 PM/Cafeteria

  • Pick up lunch, dine in Cafeteria or Lobby
  • Lunchtime Autographing Session Lobby

1:55 – 2:50/Auditorium

Graphic Novels and Comics as Information Texts

  • Jerry Craft, The New Kid
  • Nadja Spiegelman, Zig and Wikki series
  • Dave Roman, Editor, Science Comics
  • Alexandra Graudins, Science Comics: The Brain: The Ultimate Thinking Machine

Moderator: Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

2:50 – 3:20 PM/Auditorium

Closing Keynote

  • Joseph Bruchac, Two Roads

3:20 – 4:00/Lobby

  • Autographing Session
  • Books for sale from the Bank Street Bookstore