The popular and growing WNY Children’s Book Expo (WNYCBE), the area’s premier literary event for children, returns in November and will culminate with a special event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
The six-day event kicks off with KidsLit Week from Nov. 6-10, during which nearly 40 internationally acclaimed authors will visit area schools, libraries, museums and cultural venues to inspire a love of books in students from pre-k through middle school. Expo Saturday, on Nov. 11, is a day-long showcase of new and beloved books written for kids. Here, local, national and international authors will interact directly with children (and parents, teachers and school officials) through readings, book-signings, presentations and demonstrations.
“This will be our third year offering the WNY Children’s Book Expo,” said Kim Krug, co-founder of the event along with Kathleen Skoog. Krug and Skoog are also co-owners of Monkey See, Monkey Do Children’s Bookstore in Clarence. “Last year we outgrew our previous exhibit space at Kleinhans Music Hall when we surpassed 2,300 Saturday attendees, and this year we are expecting more than 4,000 people to attend, all of whom share a common interest in books and reading.”
Seed money for the WNYCBE came from a generous grant awarded by internationally acclaimed author James Patterson. With the grant, the children's book Expo began to take shape and became a reality in 2015. The event is now funded by presenting sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and numerous other local businesses and organizations that serve as sponsors, partners or contributors.
A 12-member planning committee and approximately 85 volunteers contribute nearly 2,500 work hours annually to make the WNYCBE a success, while Read to Succeed Buffalo and Medaille College serve as event collaborators.
“Our theme for 2017 is ‘Explore,’ which fits our goal of encouraging children and their families to explore books, explore authors and explore the wonder and magic of reading,” Krug said. “To our knowledge, this is the only children's book event in the country that celebrates childhood literacy by combining both school author visits and a one-day exposition-type event. Last year, our authors presented more than 150 school presentations and touched 23,000 lives through school visits, screened presentations and those attending Expo Saturday.”
New this year, the WNYCBE will offer a three-hour, New York State-approved CTLE Workshop from 8 to 11 a.m. during Expo Saturday. The workshop will open with a one-hour presentation entitled “Explore Books in the Classroom!” The presentation will take the form of an open discussion led by a panel of 16 authors.
Another important addition to this year’s Expo is the inclusion of students in the event’s marketing efforts. This past May, as part of national Children’s Book Week, WNYCBE launched its first poster contest in which local children were invited to create an illustration for the Expo poster. The students were asked only to fit their art into a fixed size and to design it based on the “Explore” theme. The winning entry was chosen by three professional illustrators, all of whom will be attending Expo Saturday. The top five student finalists will have a special reception at Expo Saturday with several illustrators, including award-winning illustrator E.B. Lewis. All poster artwork will also be displayed at the Expo.
"We know that by partnering with local schools and community centers, we can and will continue to grow this program so that Western New Yorkers will be on the forefront of creative ways of encouraging kids to dream big, be inspired by diverse, award-winning children's authors, and fearlessly explore the world,” added Skoog.
Admission to Expo Saturday is free, and while activities are targeted to ages 4 through 12, all are welcome! For more information, please visit http://www.monkeysread.com/wnycbe-home or call 204-8417.