NORTH EAST — Cecil County Public Library is bringing the party to summer reading with a Children’s Book Festival from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at North East Community Park.

The festival will feature face painting, balloon animals, food, beverages, music, storytimes, meet-and-greets and book signings with authors and illustrators, and a whole lot more.

Katelyn McLimans, youth services coordinator for CCPL, said by offering children the chance to meet authors and illustrators, the library hopes to spark a love of reading — and maybe even writing and illustrating those books themselves — for those kids.

“Having the opportunity to meet authors and illustrators allows young readers to place a face behind some of their most beloved books,” McLimans said. “Not only does this make children more engaged with the books they read, but it also introduces to young readers the possibility that writing and illustrating are viable career paths.”

Children can also learn about the inspiration behind the authors’ books and what the writing process looked like, which CCPL hopes will inspire young learners to ask more questions about the books they read.

Returning this year will be authors Julia Collins, JoAnn S. Dawson, Kevin McCloskey, Dianne K. Salerni, Kevin Sherry, Annette Whipple, and C.N. Wynn. The festival will also include some new additions, including Minh Lê, Kathy MacMillan, Liz and Jimmy Reed, Ronald L. Smith, Erin Teagan, and Chiêu Anh Urban. People can find more information about the authors attending this year's Children's Book Festival here.

To ensure that every child who attends the festival will have at least one book of their own at home to treasure and keep, CCPL community relations manager Frazier Walker said the library will be giving a free book from one of the authors at the festival to each child.

“Thanks to the generous contributions of our festival sponsors, APGFCU and the Friends Foundation of the Cecil County Public Library, and all our summer reading sponsors, children who attend the Book Festival will receive a voucher for a free book from one of the participating authors and enjoy the day’s activities,” Walker said.

Families can also sign up for CCPL’s Summer Reading & Learning Program at the festival and learn about the various programs for children, teens and adults taking place at the county’s libraries over the summer.

Rachel Wright, public services manager for CCPL, said signing up for the program allows young readers to exercise their reading and learning muscles so they’re ready to dive in to school in the fall.

“By participating in our Summer Reading and Learning Program, children stay engaged in reading throughout the summer and are better prepared to learn when they return to school,” Wright said.

The program includes prizes and incentives for tracking reading, as well as a full schedule of library events and programs to keep summer full of excitement and exploration. For more information, library patrons can visit www.cecil.ebranch.info.

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