Redefining the Classroom

Book festival is in fourth year, and not just for kids

Posted: November 1st, 2015


BUDDING WRITERS – Kids and families enjoy a hands-on activity table during last year's Superior Children’s Book Festival at Lake Superior State University. LSSU ushers in the fourth annual event from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, in the Walker Cisler Center. This year’s guests are John Perry, author of The Book that Eats People, and Ellen Airgood, author of The Education of Ivy Blake and Prairie Evers, along with other Michigan authors. The festival also offers children’s arts and crafts; games and prizes; dance, theater, and vocal performances for the children; writing contests for both children and adults; and a writing workshop for kids and teens. (LSSU/Kati Doty)

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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. –Lake Superior State University ushers in its fourth annual Superior Children’s Book Festival from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, the Walker Cisler Center. The event is free and open to families, educators, burgeoning authors, and kids of all ages. This year’s special guests are John Perry, author of The Book that Eats People, and Ellen Airgood, author of The Education of Ivy Blake and Prairie Evers, along with other Michigan authors. The festival also offers children’s arts and crafts; games and prizes; dance, theater, and vocal performances for the children; writing contests for both children and adults; and a writing workshop for kids and teens.

Anchoring the year's festival is John Perry and his hilariously dangerous picture book for all ages, along with Ellen Airgood, who will be reading from her middle-grade novels and answering questions. Both will also be available for book signing. Other authors who will be special guests at the festival include Carrie Pearson, Tim LaJoice, Brian Breault, Arthur Brood, Mary Lynn Swiderski, Paula VanderMey, Maureen Shelleau, Linda Maki, Michelle Meloni, and Kimberly Hampton.


Logo by LSSU student Daisy Fentiman
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Crafts and activities tables are a festival staple. Back by popular demand is the Lake State Student Nurses Association’s Doc McStuffins table, as well as tables sponsored by the English Club, Kappa Delta Pi honor society, Creative Writing faculty, and other groups and organizations.

Several arts performances are new and returning. The LSSU Choir, headed by Karen Hughes Beacom, will lead children in songs from Disney stories. Lake State Dance and the Academy of Performing Arts will perform book-themed dances for kids, and there will also be a theatrical performance of a Shakespeare scene for kids with sword action. All performance events are in the Erie and Huron Rooms.

Adults and children interested in creative writing will also find activities at the festival. Winners of the Festival’s Quest Writing Contest will be announced at 12:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m. children and families can take part in a Writing Workshop for Kids and Teens in the Anchor Room. All skill levels are welcome and supplies will be provided.

Also, throughout the morning until 1 p.m., Festival participants will be able to read and vote on their favorite entries to determine the finalists for The Superior Writing Prize, with prizewinners announced at 3 p.m.

The Superior Writing Prize is a contest open to people living in northern Ontario, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the Northern Mitten counties of Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle, Charlevoix, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, and Alpena.

The Superior Writing Prize has awards for best picture book and most promising middle-grade/young adult novel opening. Entries in both categories must not exceed two pages - or 1,000 words - in length. Eligible writers can send up to two entries in each category to English@lssu.edu, and must include an address so eligibility can be confirmed. The deadline is Thursday, November 5th. There is no fee to enter these contests.

The festival’s Quest Writing Contest is this year's elementary school writing contest. Each year, in conjunction with the festival, elementary education candidates in LSSU Professor McMyne's literacy and language arts methods course design, coordinate, and judge a creative writing contest for elementary school students. The contest's goal is to foster a deeper love and appreciation for all types of reading and writing abilities through imaginative and meaningful activities. More information about this contest can be found by running a Web search on "Lake Superior State University department of English," and reading what is posted on its page.

Tying into this theme of quest, the Michigan Room will feature a special Questing Completion Center for kids. Festivalgoers will be given instructions on fun quests they can complete throughout the day and will receive rewards for completed quests.

“The purpose of the Superior Children’s Book Festival is to promote books and reading to local children and families in the Upper Peninsula, to serve as a bridge between Lake Superior State University and the local community, and to support Michigan authors,” says festival coordinator Janice Repka and Chair of Lake State’s School of Arts and Letters.

Repka is a noted children's author herself. Her humorous children’s books include, The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco, which was a Junior Library Guild selection and a 2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Honor Book, and The Clueless Girl’s Guide to being a Genius, a Scholastic Book Club pick.

The Superior Children’s Book Festival is the only children’s book festival held in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The festival was created in 2012 as a collaborative effort between Bayliss Public Library, an affiliate of Superior District Library, and Lake Superior State University.

This festival is sponsored in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has also been made possible by a grant from the Lake Superior State University Cultural Affairs Committee. Follow "Superior Children's Book Festival" on Facebook for all the latest information.


-LSSU-

CONTACTS: Tom Pink, e-mail, 906-635-2315; John Shibley, e-mail, 635-2314; Prof. Janice Repka, Superior Children's Book Festival, e-mail, 635-2448.