Knox County Public Library is pleased to announce the return of the Children’s Festival of Reading on May 21, 2022, to World’s Fair Park with extended hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In its 16th year, the Festival is partnering with the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the 1982 World’s Fair with world-class authors and illustrators, science demonstrations, arts and crafts, music, and more. Plus, kids can try their hand at building their own version of the Sunsphere out of books.

Attendees will have a chance to meet storybook characters from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Dragon Loves Tacos,” and “Rainbow Fish.” Kids of all ages will want to see Cookie Monster and Big Bird who be on hand at the East Tennessee PBS tent. Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs will lead the Parade of Books, which steps off at 2:00, and everyone is invited to join the procession. The event is free and open to the public.

The Festival kicks off a summer of reading and provides a chance to sign up for Mayor Jacobs’s Read City summer challenge: Dive In Deep. Mayor Jacobs created Read City USA to help encourage families to make reading a priority and to support the schools in elevating the third grade reading rate.

Headlining the day are:

  • Erin Entrada Kelly, a 2018 Newbery Medalist and author of “Hello Universe” and “We Dream of Space”
  • Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of the “Tristan Strong” series and “Black Boy Joy”
  • Tad Hills, author/illustrator known for his “Duck and Goose” series and “How Rocket Learned to Read” for which he won the Irma Simonton Black and James H Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature.
  • Jeffrey Brown, New York Times bestselling cartoonist and author of the popular middle-grade “Jedi Academy” series. His humorous parodies include Star Wars adventures and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series.
  • Laurel Snyder is author of six novels for children including “Bigger than a Bread Box” and “Penny Dreadful”. Her picture books include “Charlie and Mouse”, “The Forever Garden”, “Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova”, “Nosh, Schlep, Schluff”, and “The Longest Night.”
  • Daniel Wiseman, a Knoxville-based illustrator with 16 books under his belt.

Musicians, storytellers, and all-day activities:

  • WDVX’s Kid Stuff Live hosted by Sean McCollough
  • Faye Wooden, storyteller
  • Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, musical storytellers
  • Miss Lynn, musician and storyteller
  • Jodie Manross, musician
  • Sarah Pirkle, musician
  • Science demonstrations by Dr. Al Hazari
  • Meet Storybook Characters
  • Parade of Books led by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs
  • Miss Libby’s Arts & Crafts Tent
  • Toddler Town – a preschool play area
  • Circus in a Suitcase by One World Circus
  • Build a Sunsphere out of books
  • The Molar Express by East Tennessee Pediatric Dentistry
  • Dozens of community groups and organizations with fun activities

“The Children’s Festival of Reading is a great way to kick off the summer,” commented Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Our community is embracing reading, and that will make a huge difference in our children’s lives. We started the Read City initiative to help all children, regardless of their socio-economic background, learn to read. This Festival is a great way to celebrate our achievements and to keep the momentum going.”