The 2015 Texas Book Festival will feature some of the nation’s most beloved children’s authors, family-friendly entertainment and activities, live music, food trucks, and more on October 17 and 18, 2015 at the State Capitol and surrounding grounds. The Texas Book Festival Weekend is free and open to the public!
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
Children’s book and author highlights include: Louis Sachar, best known for his blockbuster Newbery Medal novel Holes, will appear at the Festival with his latest book, Fuzzy Mud. Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) returns to the Festival again this year with his latest work All the Wrong Questions and will discuss why the number 13 is so important. Stage and screen star Taye Diggs will present his upbeat new children’s book Mixed Me! From Newbery Medalist author Avi with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca comes a story about hunting and survival entitled Old Wolf.
This year’s children’s author lineup also includes Stephan Pastis (Timmy Failure), Bob Shea (Don’t Play With Your Food), and Pat Mora (I Pledge Allegiance), Raul Colon (Draw!), Salina Yoon (Penguin’s Big Adventure), Andy Cotton (A Puppy’s Tale), among MANY others.
Children’s entertainment and activity highlights include ZACH Theatre performing songs from their production of Winnie the Pooh and a children’s storybook fashion show emceed by Jon Scieskza.
There will be a Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt hosted by Candlewick Press returning to the Festival again this year. Several large Waldo cutouts will be scattered throughout the Festival grounds for children to find, and there will also be a real-life Waldo making several appearances, popping in and out of venues.
The youngest readers will enjoy the Children’s Chapter, by presenting sponsor H-E-B, which includes the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent, the Children’s Entertainment Tent, and the Children’s Activity Tent. The Children’s Chapter sessions are listed at the bottom of this post.
Other notable children’s sessions, events, and more include:
Saturday, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. at Paramount Theatre (713 Congress Ave)
Lemony Snicket?! In the flesh?! Without a curtain or a veil or a mask?! Join the mysterious author as he talks about the conclusion of the series, why the number 13 is so important, and whether or not Daniel Handler is a real person.
The Nuts: Sing and Dance in your Polka-Dot Pants
Saturday, 12:30- 1:30 p.m. in Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004
From Eric Litwin, the author who brought us Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes! comes another amazing story about singing and dancing. With the book’s call-and-response rhymes you won’t be able to stay in your seat. And you won’t have to: this is a full musical performance.
Embrace Your Inner Weird
Saturday, 1- 1:45 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.014
Are you part dinosaur? Do you have a tail? Do you enjoy wrangling armadillos? Maybe not, but Sawyer the dinosaur boy and Calpurnia Tate have a lot of weird qualities that make them special, and so do you! Catch Cory Putman Oakes and Jacqueline Kelly as they discuss their weird but super cool characters and celebrate what makes you unique!
The Success of Timmy Failure
Saturday, 2- 3:15 p.m. in Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004
He’s the best detective around! Well, sort of. His polar bear assistant is very adept . . . at eating bon bons. Together the dynamic duo are Total Failure and they are here to save the day! Although saving the day comes about in ways no one would expect, one can’t help but admire Timmy for his determination and drive. Disclaimer: this was not typed by Timmy Failure or any of his associates. Join Stephan Pastis as he discusses the highs and lows of Timmy’s detective career.
Mixed Me! with Taye Diggs and Shane Evans
Saturday, 2:30- 3:15 p.m. in the House Chamber
A session for the whole family to learn about the power of diversity, love, and self-confidence in the upbeat children’s book Mixed Me! written by stage and screen star Taye Diggs and illustrator Shane Evans.
Same, Same, But Different
Saturday, 3- 4 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.014
Being average is boring, but being different can be really tough. In Phil Bildner and Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s books, characters struggle with dyslexia and autism, learning how to build support systems, find confidence, and have fun.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Lit Crawl Austin session)
Saturday, 7:30- 8:15 p.m. at the Texas State Cemetery (909 Navasota St.)
Part of the Lit Crawl Austin activities, this late-night ghost story event is for all ages. YA authors Jake Halpern, Stephen Graham Jones, Peter Kujawinski, Nova Ren Suma and April Genevieve Tucholke will tell gripping, eerie, and spooky tales. The cemetery can be dark—bring a flashlight!
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. in the Stateside Theatre
From Newbery Medalist author Avi with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Brian Floca, comes a story about hunting and survival. In Colorado, raven Merla and wolf Nashoba’s ordinary routines are rocked when 13-year-old bow hunter Casey enters the scene. Moderated by Rose Smith.
Survival of the Fittest
Sunday, 12- 12:45 p.m. in the Capitol Extension Room E2.016
The protagonists in Nikki Loftin, Nick Courage, and Rebecca Stead’s novels were never supposed to live. Whether battling cancer, a heart transplant, or surviving a horrific car crash, they’ve defeated impossible odds and are now left to discover themselves, their friends, and find out the reason that they live.
Mac Barnett Pranksters Workshop
Sunday, 1- 2 p.m. in the Stateside Theatre
Want to pull off the best prank, one your friends couldn’t dream of? Attend this one-of-a-kind event hosted by bestselling author Mac Barnett as he inducts you The Secret Order of Disorder as featured in the bestselling book series The Terrible Two, which he wrote with his buddy and pal Jory John.
Sunday, 3- 3:45 p.m. in the Stateside Theatre
Anne Bustard, Louis Sachar, and Matt London discover just what happens when kids are face-to-face with the powers of their environment. Whether adventure is on a brand new continent, in Hawaii after a tsunami strikes, or in a dark forest, it’s always just around the corner.
For the Win
Sunday, 3:15- 4 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.026
Mission impossible? Not for these characters. Margaret Stohl, Ryan Graudin, and Renee Ahdieh give us teenagers on a mission to protect those they love, whether it be saving the world from an evil Russian Madman, marrying a murderer prince with plots of revenge, or masquerading in a race across the world to come face to face with the world’s most well-known dictator. Moderated by Jodi Egerton.
Me, Myself, and Awesome
Sunday, 3:30- 4:30 p.m. in the House Chamber
Tavi Gevinson, Rebecca Serle, and Julie Murphy discuss what it is to be a young woman in today’s world—whether you’re a sophomore in high school or a famous Hollywood starlet, being a female can sometimes be unjustly hard. It takes strength to keep your head up and your shoulders back. Moderated by Sarah Pitre.
Watch Out for Flying Kids!
Sunday, 4:15- 5 p.m. in Capitol Extension Room E2.026
In her latest nonfiction book, Cynthia Levinson shows how children change their world through circus arts–one acrobat, tumbler and flyer at a time. Watch as black kids and white, Israeli Arabs and Jews, overcome political, personal and physical obstacles.
The Children’s Activity Tent, located on Colorado St. near 12th and 13th streets, features:
- Therapy Dogs, 10 a.m. and Sun. 11 a.m., Austin Dog Alliance presents the “Bow Wow Reading Dogs”
- Storybook Character Fashion Show, 11 a.m. come dressed as your favorite storybook character and walk the runway!
- TLA Presents 2x the Fun, 1 p.m., learn how to expand your child’s reading experiences with fun activities you can both share after reading award-winning Texas 2×2 books
- ZACH Theatre, 2 p.m. and Sun. 3 p.m., children’s activities presented by the creative minds at ZACH
- Salina Yoon, Sat. 2:30 p.m., Salina Yoon reads from Penguin’s Big Adventure, introduced by Shannon Henzen’s 1st grade students of Forest Creek Elementary
- Family African Safari Invitation for Fun, Adventurous Children, Sun, 1 p.m., based on the award-winning book, Tame Your Manners
The Children’s Entertainment Tent, located on West Capitol Driveway near Colorado St., features:
- Magician Kent Cummins, Sat. 10 a.m., an unforgettable magic show that’s sure to entertain audience members of any age
- Chicken’s Activity Hour, Sat. 11 a.m., activities with Janee Trasler
- Joe McDermott, Sat. noon, “the maestro of imagination”
- Lucas Miller: The Singing Zoologist, Sat. 1 p.m.
- Joaquin Hancock, Family, and Friends, Sat, 2 p.m., listen to family friendly music by the Hancock Family Band with Chataqua
- Boitumelo: Song and Stories of South Africa, Sat. 3:30 p.m., an engaging performance by the renowned South African rapper and poet
- Hand to Mouth Puppet Theatre, Sun. 11 a.m., puppeteer, painter, graphic artist, costume designer, and book illustrator Ellen Turner Scott amazes with the art of puppetry
- The Telephone Company, Sun. 12 p.m.
- ZACH Theatre, Sun. 12 p.m., the creative minds at ZACH Theatre will put on a play using children’s storybooks
- Bernadette Nason, 1 p.m.
- Inside Out Steelband, Sun. 4 p.m.
The Children’s Read Me a Story Tent, located on 10th and Congress, features:
- Monica Brown, 10 a.m., Maya’s Blanket/La Manta de Maya, introduced by Judi Thompson’s 5th grade students of Zilker Elementary
- Xaviar Garza, Sat. 10:30 a.m., The Great and Mighty Nikko, introduced by Monica Champion’s 3rd Grade Students of Becker Elementary
- Katheryn Russell-Brown, Sat. 11 a.m., Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, introduced by Ne’Leigh Hamilton’s Battle of the Books Team of Popham Elementary
- Bob Shea, Sat. 11:30 a.m. Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, introduced by Stacey Ross’ 2nd grade students of Casis Elementary
- Meg Medina, Sat. noon, Mango, Abuela, Me, introduced by Martha LeBlanc’s 4th grade students of Blazier Elementary
- Texas Bluebonnet Award, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
- Kevin Henkes, Sat. 1 p.m., Waiting, introduced by Stephanie Kayne’s 4th grade students of Brushy Creek Elementary
- Joe Cepeda, Sat. 1:30 p.m. Swing Sisters: The Story of International Sweethearts of Rhythm, introduced by Librarian Randi Sather’s Super Readers of Perez Elementary
- Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls, Sat. 2 p.m., Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, introduced by Andrea Tanner’s Kindergarten Students of NYOS Charter School
- Salina Yoon, 2:30 p.m., Penguin‘s Big Adventure, introduced by Shannon Henzen‘s 1st Grade Students of Forest Creek Elementary
- John Rocco and Todd Tarpley, Sat. 3 p.m. Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!, introduced by Brennan Cruser’s 2nd Grade Students of Casis Elementary
- Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, Sat. 3:30 p.m., My Tata’s Remedies/Los remedies de mi Tata, introduced by Natacha Jone’s 1st Grade Students of UT Elementary
- Tad Carpenter, Sat. 4 p.m., Arctic Animals (Who’s That?), introduced by Melissa Garcia’s Pre-K Students of UT Elementary
- Jonah Winter and illustrator Shane Evans, Sat, 4:30 p.m., Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Right Act of 1965, introduced by Samantha Gladwell’s 3rd Grade Students of NYOS Charter School
- Patricia Vermillion, Sun. 11 a.m., Hound Dawg, introduced by Tracie Johnson’s 1st Grade Students of Old Town Elementary
- Jared Chapman, Sun. 11:30 a.m. Vegetables in Underwear, introduced by Elexa Antweil’s 2nd Grade Students of Casis Elementary
- Phil Bildner, noon, Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, introduced by Librarian Christina Nelson and Students of Odom Elementary
- Raul Colon, Sun. 12:30 p.m. Draw!, introduced by Andrea McIllwain’s Pre-K Students of Blanton Elementary
- Emma J. Virjan, Sun. 1 p.m., What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, introduced by Angela Holcek’s 2nd Grade Students of England Elementary
- Young Writers Award, Sun. 1:30 p.m.
- Raul Gonzales III, Sun. 2 p.m.,Lowriders in Space (Book 1), introduced by Laura Adams’ 4th grade students of Galindo Elementary
- Jennifer Rustgi and illustrator Ashley White, Sun. 2:30 p.m., A Moon of My Own, introduced by Mindy Bass’ 1st grade students of Gullett Elementary
- Joel Nakamura, Sun. 3 p.m., Go West!, introduced by Lauren Berrong’s 2nd grade students of Galindo Elementary
- Don Tate and Chris Barton, Sun. 3:30 p.m., The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, introduced by Noelle McBride’s 2nd grade students of Brushy Creek Elementary
- Andy Cotton, Sun. 4 p.m. A Puppy’s Tale, introduced by Sharon Marroquin’s 1st grade students of Becker Elementary
Contributed by Allison Baron.