NORTH EAST — Elkton-area residents Brionna Barrett, 6, and her sister, Arionna, 4, have a collection of children’s books, all of which they enjoy.
But the ones they picked out at the annual Cecil County Public Library Children’s Book Festival on Saturday at North East Community Park will be even more cherished because John Micklos Jr., the author of their selections — “Let Me Finish!” and “One Leaf, Two Leaves Count with Me” — autographed his literary works for them.
“This is pretty special for my daughters. They have other books that were signed by the authors. They have a special spot in the house for the autographed books,” Eddie Barrett said.
The Barrett family was among a few hundred people who turned out for the event, which featured Micklos and 13 other children’s book authors and illustrators who signed their books at meet-and-greet tables, answered questions and gave insight into their creative processes.
“For many of the children, it’s like meeting a celebrity of sorts. They tell how the book was written and where they got their inspiration. It will give them wonderful memories of meeting an author, and it might even inspire them to be an author, too, someday,” said Rachel Wright, public services manager with the CCPL.
Meeting the children and signing their books was a thrill for the authors, too, as it turns out.
“For me, you write a book and you assume someone, somewhere, is reading it. To meet the children and sign their books is really special,” Micklos told the Cecil Whig. “You make a connection with children. Signing the book makes it a keepsake and it makes it more personal.”
At designated times throughout the three-hour-long fair, there were storytelling sessions in the park’s gazebo. Each of the six authors who participated in that part of the event animatedly read one of his or her books to children and their parents.
To ensure that every child who attended the festival left with at least one book, the CCPL gave each youngster a voucher for one book by the featured authors. Contributions by the festival sponsors, APGFCU and the Friends Foundation of the Cecil County Public Library, made that book giveaway possible.
Also during the children’s book festival, families were able to sign up for CCPL’s Summer Reading & Learning Program and learn about the various programs for children, teens and adults taking place at the county’s libraries over the summer. The CCPL’s Bookmobile was at the festival as well.
The children’s book festival had other attractions, including a martial arts demonstration by Rising Sun Martial Arts students, music, face-painting, balloon animals, a story walk, a pony-grooming demonstration and an appearance by Ferrous, the Aberdeen Ironbirds’ mascot.