The San Antonio Book Festival has offerings for both kids and their parents. Photo courtesy of SABF.

If you have children over the age of three, then you are probably familiar with this scenario: The weekend is coming. You want something fun to do with the kids, but you also want it to be educational … and it wouldn’t hurt if it was fun for you, too. Well, parents of Bexar County and beyond, the San Antonio Book Festival has you covered.

On Saturday, April 2, give us your time from 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m. at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art in downtown San Antonio, and we guarantee a day of literary fun for the kids. We’re also pretty confident you’ll enjoy yourselves as much your kids do. Clear eyes; full hearts; you can’t lose at the 2016 SABF.

Your Kids Will Love Our Festival Authors

Each year the Book Festival brings some of the nation’s top illustrators and picture book writers — and this year is no different. Our Holt Family Children’s Reading Tent lineup (for the little ones) features award-winning writers/illustrators like Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez (Mango, Abuela and Me), Don Tate (Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton), and more. Author Emma J. Virján (What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush) dresses in costume for her presentation.

SABF 2015 author Naomi Shihab Nye reads from The Turtle of Oman. Photo courtesy of SABF.
SABF 2015 author Naomi Shihab Nye reads from The Turtle of Oman. Photo courtesy of SABF. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio Book Festival

Middle graders (kids ages 8-12) have an equally outstanding lineup in the Southwest School of Art’s Copper Kitchen. Kids who love adventure books will enjoy our “Looking for Adventure (in Space and on Earth)” panel with San Antonio authors David Liss and Xavier Garza. We’re also thrilled to have Pam Muñoz Ryan, who won the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature for her novel Echo. And Nathan Hale (Hazardous Tales: Alamo All Stars) always hits it out of the park with his drawing-while-presenting style.

This year we have added a very special Party Time hour — an interactive session where kids get to make a story with the Festival’s picture book writers and illustrators. It’s an opportunity to take advantage of the top talent we have in our children’s section and a chance for your kids to get up close and personal with the people who make the books they love.

So Much More than Books

At SABF we have an entire community of organizations coming together to get kids excited about reading. The Magik Theatre will perform “Jack and the Beanstalk” in the morning, and high-energy Sarah Loden will take the stage in the afternoon with her imaginative storytelling.

But the fun doesn’t end there. Take a look at all the activities we have in store for kids:

A young festival-goer has fun with words at the mini word wall at 2015 SABF.Photo courtesy of SABF.
A young festival-goer has fun with words at the mini word wall at 2015 SABF.Photo courtesy of SABF.

What About My Teenager?

We’re so glad you asked that, because we have a fabulous, dynamic section exclusively for teens at the Festival. It’s called Geektown and it’s awesome. It includes a flip book photo booth; teens can take a series of photos and a flip book is created that they get to take home. It features a custom-made Word Wall with magnetized words so teens can craft their own message and post on social media. It offers a crossword challenge and a Scrabble station, complete with tips from a national Scrabble champion!

Have we mentioned Geektown is full of prizes to be won? We love teens who love to read, so we’ve got a mighty stash of prizes for them.

  • Teens can try their luck at the KSAT wheel and see what they win.
  • Take the Bingo Geektown Challenge — complete all the activities on a bingo card for a prize.
  • Roam the Festival on a Geektown Scavenger Hunt. Find our GeekClues scattered throughout the Festival grounds to win a prize.

Our H-E-B Teen Author Tent features distinguished Young Adult writers: A.G. Howard – Untamed; Ashley Hope Pérez — Out of Darkness; Rene S. Perez II — Seeing Off the Johns; Adam Silvera — More Happy Than Not; and Francisco X. Stork — The Memory of Light. As an added bonus, Mayor Ivy R. Taylor will be in Geektown talking about her spring Book Club selectionThe Book Thief.

Where to Find the Family Fun

We’ve moved some venues around this year so be sure to study the Festival map. The new layout creates a triangle of entertainment for families bringing children of all ages to the Book Festival. It will make spending the day at the Festival with children easy as pie.

Young readers will be at the Holt Family Children’s Reading Tent in the beautiful McNutt Gardens of the Southwest School of Art (SSA). Middle graders (kids ages 8-12) can listen to author presentations in the SSA’s Copper Kitchen then walk over to the McNutt Gardens for activities and other entertainment. Teenagers are in Geektown along Augusta and Giraud Streets.

Middle graders enjoy the author presentations at the 2014 SABF. Photo courtesy of SABF.
Middle graders enjoy the author presentations at the 2014 SABF. Photo courtesy of SABF.

Upon entering the Festival at one of the three main entrances (Navarro and Augusta Streets, Giraud and Soledad Streets, and the Central Library entrance on Soledad Street), stop by an information booth to collect your SABF sticker, program, and/or map. There will be signage posted throughout to help steer families toward this area, as well as superheroes from the Champions of San Antonio helping direct traffic. If it’s your first time at the Book Festival, be sure to read our Beginner’s Guide.

Feed Your Mind and Your Appetite

The official bookseller at the Festival is Barnes and Noble, and they will have a book sales and author signing area in the McNutt Gardens for the children’s and middle-grade books. They will have a separate book sales and signing area for the Young Adult books in Geektown. And for parents, the adult book sales will be along Augusta Street with book signings inside the Library in the gallery.

We’ve strategically placed some kid-friendly food trucks down by the young readers’ section of the Festival. Slider Provider, Amore Pizza, and Flamingo Reys will be along Augusta Street. The remainder of the food trucks will be inside our Festival Marketplace, which will also have local authors and vendors selling books and other items for kids. Stop by and check out the Monkey Mind TalesMysteries by Vincent, and Reading for Fun booths. The Region 20 Living Science Materials booth will have live animals.

And listen — treat yourself, too! Check out our schedule and find a session you wish to attend. Or stop by our Central Market Cooking Tent to see our cookbook authors demoing recipes. No matter how you spend your day at the Book Festival, share it with us on social media. Post your SABF experience on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use the hashtag #sabookfest.

The San Antonio Book Festival is the signature program of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen the library in service to our community.

For more information, visit the San Antonio Book Festival website here.

Disclosure: San Antonio Book Festival Executive Director Katy Flato sits on the Rivard Report board of directors. Learn more here.

*Top image: The San Antonio Book Festival has offerings for both kids and their parents. Photo courtesy of SABF.

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Lilly González

Lilly González joined the San Antonio Book Festival staff in September 2015 as communications director. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, she earned both her MFA in creative writing and her bachelors...