The second annual San Antonio Book Festival, on April 5, 2014, will feature free activities and author showcases from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library and the Southwest School of Art. I am looking forward to bringing my kids for the fun activities and to meet the children’s book authors.
Here is a partial lineup of children’s book authors:
- Samantha R. Vamos, author of The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
- Xavier Garza, author of Maximilian & the Bingo Rematch
- Brian Floca, author of Locomotive
- Kathi Appelt, author of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
These books are all available at the San Antonio Public Library. If you’re not already in the habit of going to the library, here’s how you get started.
- Go to the Locations page and find your closest library branch. (We usually go to Landa or Central, pictured above.)
- Once you’re there, sign up for a free library card; bring a photo ID and proof of address. Your kids can get their own cards, too.
- Ask a librarian where to find the children’s section. They are shelved alphabetically by the author’s last name. We enjoy browsing the shelves; it’s hard to go wrong because the librarians do such a good job choosing the books. (Besides, they’re free.)
- If you found something you like while browsing, then go check out your books, and make a note of the due date. You can renew online, in person, or by phone. Most libraries have drop boxes so you can drive by and return your books. You can return your books at any branch, not just the place where you checked them out.
What if you are looking for a particular book, like one of the San Antonio Book Festival children’s titles listed above? The last time we were at Landa Library, I asked a librarian for tips on searching for a particular book, and I learned something new. Let’s use Locomotive by Brian Floca as an example.
Go to a library catalog computer, or point your browser to the online catalog.
Using the “Basic” search, type in the author’s last name and the first word of the title (leaving out words like “A”, “The”, etc.). Click “Search”.
The search returned the exact book we were looking for, Locomotive by Brian Floca. The San Antonio Public Library owns 12 copies—wow!
Next, look at the locations to see if there is a copy available to check out at your branch. In this case, Locomotive is a popular book, and all 12 copies are checked out. If you still want a copy, you can place a hold on the book; then, when one of the checked-out copies is returned, the library will deliver it to your local branch and keep it for you in the “holds” area. Place a hold by following the directions on your screen or asking a librarian for help.
Here’s another example. I searched for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt.
There are several copies available to check out, but not at my local branch. I placed a hold and the library will deliver it to my local branch within a couple of days, and send an email to let me know it’s ready.
I am looking forward to checking out the San Antonio Book Festival children’s books and sharing them with my kids. (In fact, a couple of them are already waiting for me on the hold shelves at Landa Library.) Looking up lists of award winners is a great way to find high-quality books to check out.
- Texas 2×2 (earlier post)
- Texas Bluebonnet Award
- Pura Belpré Award (Cazuela is Pura Belpré honor book for illustration; an earlier Maximilian title is a Pura Belpré honor book for narrative)
- Caldecott (Locomotive is a Caldecott medal winner) and Newbery
- Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award
- International Latino Book Award
- Coretta Scott King Book Awards
- National Book Awards (True Blue Scouts is a National Book Award finalist for young people’s literature)
Big thanks to my friend Melanie Mendez-Gonzales of ¿Qué Means What? for helping me to diversify this list of awards.
Once you get your books home, Veronica Rouse of Seven Lovely Things has ideas about how to use the books for learning: “San Antonio Book Festival: 5 Ways to Get Excited”
If your kids are a little bit older than mine, they might be interested in the San Antonio Book Festival’s lineup of young adult book authors:
- Malin Alegria, author of the Border Town series
- Brandon Mull, author of the Five Kingdoms series, including Sky Raiders
- Sophie Jordan, author of Uninvited
For adults, the grand finale of the San Antonio Book Festival is the Literary Death Match, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Empire Theatre. The national site for Literary Death Match has more information about the event format. Buy tickets online or by phone.
- Here is my earlier post about the San Antonio Book Festival young fiction writers’ contest
- “Our Visit to The Texas Book Festival in San Antonio”, Alvina Castro, There’s Magic Out There, May 1, 2013
- “The San Antonio Book Festival Was Here and We Can’t Wait For Next Year!”, Michelle Hernandez, Family Love In My City, April 29, 2013
- “School libraries are more than Dr. Seuss”, Katie, Alamo City Moms Blog, September 11, 2013
- “‘A River Runs Through It…’ Essay Contest Preludes Book Festival”, Iris Dimmick, Rivard Report, February 12, 2014