Children's Book Festival attracts a big crowd - WRBL

Children's Book Festival attracts a big crowd

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The Columbus Public Library was a packed house for the first Columbus Children's Book Festival.

The event was supposed to be held outside but was moved indoors due to inclement weather. The downpour was no match, however, for the well over 1000 people who made their way to the festival for author presentations, great deals on books and lots of entertainment.

Alongside a "Fancy Nancy" fashion show hosted by News Three's Tammy Terry with author Jane O'Connor, a number of young authors were awarded for their works. Fourth grader Nora Starhill says, "I think I might write a few more books, but not too long."

11-year-old Abe Ben-Khalid has received national recognition for his book "The Greatest Country" chronicling why America is so important to him, and he says books are vital for your success. "Reading and writing is a skill that's going to help you later in life, help you get a better job," he says, "and so you'll do good in life."

R. L. Stine, who packed an auditorium full of fans of all ages, says it's great to meet so many youngsters who love to read. "I love getting out and seeing my readers and seeing the enthusiasm that they have for these books," he says. "It's very strange, this is the 21st year of 'Goosebumps' and it's exciting for me to be scaring a whole new generation of kids."

Despite having technology at their fingertips, the kids at the festival proved reading can still be fun. Stine is optimistic about the future of books. "I don't believe it's so hard to get kids reading," he says. "They have a lot of distractions and a lot of other ways to entertain themselves, but look at these huge book series like 'The Hunger Games' and 'Harry Potter' and...'39 Clues.' Kids are reading a lot! And I think they know they can turn to reading just for entertainment."

O'Connor agrees, saying she's dedicated to spreading her love of reading. She says, "My whole career has been to show kids how much fun reading is. My only hobby is reading. When there are questionnaires asking for hobbies, books is what I put."

A number of other authors and illustrators came out for the festival as well as magicians and mad scientists, so there was no shortage of activity throughout the day.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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