Children’s Book Fest charms

Interactive sessions were the name of the game at this year’s Children’s Book Festival. The third annual event, which promoted and celebrated the joys of reading for and with youngsters, attracted a good turnout at Books & Books last Saturday helped by the star power of internationally acclaimed writers Eric Litwin, Ridley Pearson and Tom Angleberger and illustrator James Dean.

The four overseas visitors held their audiences spellbound during their reading sessions.

First up were Litwin and Dean. The Atlanta natives were an engaging double act: the author read from his latest book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (three- to seven-year-olds) and played his guitar to get the children up and jumping around, while the illustrator, whose work has been shown at more than 80 galleries across the US, drew a picture of Pete the Cat in Cayman.

The pair were followed by local storytellers Rita Estevanovich dressed in old-time garb and Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette who told a few Gimistory tales. The audience were entranced, as were the visiting writers who enjoyed the colourful vernacular and lively storytelling style of two of Cayman’s most accomplished storytellers.

Tom Angleberger, who lives in the mountains of Virginia, read his book The Strange Tale of Origami Yoda for eight- to 12-year-olds. He also juggled and got the young audience members involved, so much so in fact that most had made an origami finger puppet by the end of his session to take home, having first got the author to sign it for them.

Ridley Pearson read from Kingdom Keepers III: Disney in Shadow, part of his Disney series, which was also aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds. As well as explaining how he began writing his Disney World series (Disney invited him to do so), Pearson spoke about the writing process, how he approached research (Disney’s given him a ‘magic’ pass to its attractions) and how his fiction writing had eventually triumphed over his aptitude for science career-wise, but how he now referenced some science in his work.

The bookstore’s Manager, Holly Smith, said: “Books & Books is pleased with the success of the third annual Children’s Book Festival. The calibre of the authors, plus the turnout from the community lets us know we have a winning combination.”

She encouraged parents and teachers to continue instilling a love of books in children.

The authors and storytellers rounded off this year’s event with a session at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre on Monday morning, open specifically for schools. During the event. Dean drew two more Pete the Cat pictures, which were won by St. Ignatius School and Montessori by the Sea.

The Children’s Book Festival was sponsored by Maples and Calder and Camana Bay.

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