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 15, 2022


The Center for Children’s Literature is delighted to announce that it will team up with Kid Lit TV this year to stream BookFest 2022.  We are also thrilled that 2022 Newbery and Pura Belpré winner Donna Barba Higuera, author of The Last Cuentista  will be this year’s keynote.

Donna grew up in central California surrounded by agricultural and oil fields. As a child, rather than dealing with the regular dust devils, she preferred spending recess squirreled away in the janitor’s closet with a good book. Her favorite hobbies were calling dial-a-story over and over again, and sneaking into a restricted cemetery to weave her own spooky tales using the crumbling headstones as inspiration.

Donna’s Young Adult and Middle Grade books feature characters drawn into creepy, situations, melding history, folklore, and or her own life experience into reinvented storylines. She still dreams in Spanglish.

Donna lives in Washington State with her family, three dogs and two frogs. She is also the author of Lupe Wong Won’t Dance (2021 Pura Belpré Honor) and El Cucuy is Scared Too.

Register for BookFest 2022

Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #bookfest22


9:20 AM – 9:30 AM (EST)
Chat Room
Sign in and say hello in chat.

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 – 10:10 AM (EST)

Remembering Jerry Pinkney

  • Andrea Davis Pinkney, Author
  • Gloria Pinkney, Author
  • Brian Pinkney, Illustrator
  • Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, Illustrator

Moderator: Troy Ragsdale Pinkney, Bank Street College of Education

10:10 AM – 11:05 AM (EST)

Complex Characters in Complex Times: Lessons for our Lives from Middle Grade Latinx  Authors

  • Meg Medina, Merci Suarez Changes Gears
  • Margarita Engle, The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom
  • Pam Muñoz Ryan, Echo

Moderator: Dr. Carla España, Brooklyn College

11:05 AM – 11:25 AM (EST)

11:25 AM – 12:20 PM (EST)

Delicious Reads: Picture Books about Food and Culture

  • Andrea Wang, Watercress
  • Jason Chin, Watercress
  • Raúl the III, Vámos, Let’s Go Eat
  • June Jo Lee , Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild
  • Winsome Bingham, Soul Food Sunday

Moderator:  Gillian Engberg, Consultant, Children’s Books and Media

12:20 PM – 1:00 PM (EST)
Closing Keynote

  • Donna Barba Higuera, 2022 Newbery and Pura Belpré Winner, The Last Cuentista

Note that the breakout sessions and our short program have been trimmed this year to offer a more online-friendly format.