Islesford author, illustrator and Laura Ingalls Wilder Award-winner Ashley Bryan will be the keynote speaker at the Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival on Oct. 10. FILE PHOTO

Festival celebrates children’s literacy

BAR HARBOR — See the excellent children’s books. See the nice, smart people who write books for children. See children being inspired to read!

You, Dick, Jane, Father, Mother, Spot and everyone else can see all that Oct. 9-10 at the inaugural Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival.

More than 40 children’s book authors and illustrators will read from their books and talk about how and why they do what they do.

On Friday, Oct. 9, the authors will visit the elementary schools on Mount Desert Island and in Trenton, where they will hold workshops, readings and discussions with students.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, there will be workshops, book signings and panel discussions between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at several locations in Bar Harbor: the Jesup Memorial Library, YWCA, Congregational Church, Abbe Museum and Criterion Theatre.

Legendary children’s book author and illustrator Ashley Bryan of Islesford will give the keynote address in ceremonies Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. at the Criterion Theatre. All of Saturday’s events are free and open to people of all ages.

The idea for the festival originated with best-selling children’s book author Carrie Jones of Bar Harbor and Bar Harbor Police Sgt. Shaun Farrar.

Best-selling author Carrie Jones is organizing the Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival set for Columbus Day weekend in Bar Harbor. FILE PHOTO

Best-selling author Carrie Jones is organizing the Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival set for Columbus Day weekend in Bar Harbor.

Jones, the principal organizer of the festival, said reading stories increases not only children’s literacy but also their level of empathy.

“Communities with strong literacy levels have lower crime rates, and the kids have a better chance of getting the futures they deserve, of reaching their true potential,” she said. “Communities full of people with empathy are strong, bonded communities, places where people are committed to helping each other in good times and bad.

“I like to think that MDI is already like this … and that this book festival’s celebration of kids and authors and illustrators and story is only going to make it stronger.”

All of the authors who are participating in the Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival are donating their time. Festival organizers are using donated funds to help defray some of the expenses for speakers who are coming from outside the area.

Jones said persuading so many authors to participate didn’t take a lot of effort.

“It was an easy sell, actually not much of a sell at all,” she said. “These people love kids and books. They want to be part of a celebration like this.”

Jones said she has been “amazed” at the number of authors, librarians, businesses and volunteers who have gotten involved, “just because they believe in kids.”

Having Bryan as the keynote speaker is a great honor, Jones said. “We are thrilled and honored that he agreed to share his vibrant, brilliant, loving vision of the world and of story with our festival.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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