Making the Most of the Twin Cities Book Festival

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The amount of children’s book authors in the Twin Cities area is amazing to me.  This is such an great place to live if you are a book lover — and who isn’t?  Throughout the year, we have opportunities to meet authors at bookstores like The Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus. However, a couple times a year, there are events that bring many authors into one place.   One of these events is the Twin Cities Book Festival from Rain Taxi. The Children’s Pavilion alone will host 13 authors.  Besides the authors, there will be activities available all day, including:

Scheduled Activities:

Free Face Painting (10:00 – 3:00)
The musical stylings of Duke Otherwise (11:30, 1:00. 2:30)
Meet Captain ReadMore! (1:30 and 2:30)
Beyond the Book: Fun Activities with Scarletta Press Authors
10:00 -11:30 am: Greg Bancroft, Betsy’s Day at the Game
11:30 -1:00 pm: Stephanie Wallingford and Dawn Rynders, A Day at the Lake
1:00 – 3:00pm: Gary Cook, The Best Saturday Ever!

All-Day Activities:

Storywalk featuring Moo! by David LaRochelle & Mike Wohnoutka
Author Book Scavenger Hunt—win a deck of cards if you find all the answers!
Fold-a-Book with the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library
Book Necklaces with
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Poetry on the Spot with author
Stephanie Watson
Get Carded! Show us your library card and wear your “I Got Carded” button with pride.

You could go just for these activities for as long or short of a visit as you like and have a very nice family outing.  However, if you want to make a little more of it, getting to know the authors is a fun way to make the experience a little more intimate.  Most of them also offer encouragement for young writers.

Elizabeti’s Doll Trailer at ARTISTdirect.

S.A. Bodeen is the author of the award-winning Elizabeti trilogy.  This series of children’s picture books follows a young Tanzanian girl as she adjusts to the birth of a baby brother, a baby sister and starting school.  In the first book, Elizabeti’s Doll, Elizabeti finds a rock that she adopts as her doll and cares for it as her mother cares for her new brother.  The trailer for the reading of this story  can be found at ELIZABETI’S DOLL Trailer @ARTISTdirect.  Bodeen will also be signing copies of her award-winning young adult novels.

SabudaquoteRobert Sabuda creates pop up books.  Actually, he creates critically acclaimed pop up books.  If you and your kids enjoy book arts, I really recommend checking out his site.  He offers a lot of pointers in Pop-Up Questions and also some instructions for making your own pop up books on his website.  I think it would be really fun to study his website this week with my grade schooler and then go visit with Mr. Sabuda.

BullardLisa Bullard will be releasing Turn Left at the Cow — a young adult mystery — just in time for the Book Festival this week.  If you want to prep for your visit, you may want to visit Ms. Bullard’s Children’s Literature Network post, where she gives some excellent ideas for brainstorming your own stories — including making a map collage or utilizing Pinterest.  Speaking of Pinterest, you can go get 13 clues to the story at the author’s Pinterest board for the book.

ratLynne Jonell writes the Magic series that started with Hamster Magic, Lawnmower Magic and currently Grasshopper Magic.  She also wrote the Emmy and the Rat Series which has won the Minnesota Book Award.  If your kids are fans of the Emmy series, they can design their own personalized bookmark for reading these books.

Deborah Jo Larson will be appearing with her picture book, One Frozen Lake.  Ms. Larson has ice-fishing coloring pages you can download from her site. 

Mary Logue is an author and poet and rug maker.  She has published children’s and adult’s books.  Her latest children’s book is Sleep Like a Tiger.  You can see the trailer for it below.

WinteroftheRobotsKurtis Scaletta is another author with a book releasing this week.  You can be among the first to get your hands on The Winter of the Robots and get it signed by the author.   Mr. Scaletta offers some really cool Extras to go with each of his books.  Like some of the other authors on this list, his Q & A page on his website is a great place to go if you want to get some insight into his creative process.  He also reminds you that most writers (like musicians) have day jobs.


I have already embarrassed myself over at Free Family Fun with my article on Stephen Shaskan.  If I could remember my password, I would have just moved the article over to this site, but unfortunately, I can’t, so you’ll have to read it over there.  But to sum it up Stephen Shaskan is a really cool person and he has a really cool website.  You will enjoy checking it out.  Shaskan also writes music.  Below are some of the kids songs he has written.  (There is a big space after this plugin.  Keep going, there are more authors.)


Obert Skye is a new author to me.  His website is somewhat unfinished, so I don’t have much to recommend from it yet.  He will be at the book festival with his latest book, Pinocula.  This is a part of his Creature from My Closet series which he talks about in the video below.  This video kind of gives you a peak into his personality, too.

Fall2013_Rite_Bejing_800x500Lauren Stringer will be at the festival with her latest book When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky. This book is about an infamous riot in Paris after the opening night of the ballet, The Rite of Spring.  This ballet, is being performed this month for free by Ballet Minnesota.  Wouldn’t it be fun to get the book signed by the author and then go see the ballet.  What do your kids feel about the story?  Is it something to riot over?

If you aspiring young writer also likes creating comics, they will want to meet Yasmine Surovec  — the creator of the Cat versus Human website.  She will be sharing her latest book, I See Kitty.  I’ve included one of her comics below.  If you are a cat person you will enjoy her website.

Kristen Tracy writes children and young adult novels.  She is also a poet. Below is a link to her poem Rain at the Zoo from American Life Poetry.


Stephanie Watson writes the Elvis & Olive series which we have started reading at home.  They are perfect books for grade school girls.  She has most recently written the picture book, The Wee Hours.  You can see a trailer for it below.

 I hope you and your family find this useful and can pick a few favorite authors to get to know.  They can be some of the most interesting people.

Joy Peters is one of the creators of  Her writing focuses on providing an arts-oriented family lifestyle on a small budget.



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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters – co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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  • You can never ever understand how considerably I appreciate you sharing this with us. Remember to sustain the great get the job done, and allow us to know the way we can easily carry on to help your site.

    • Thanks. I hope you enjoyed last year’s book festival. We’re getting excited for next one. Maybe we’ll see you there.

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