On a cold, rainy day in mid-2018, authors Elizabeth Acevedo and Daniel José Older addressed a particularly engaged crowd at the outdoor Fordham Plaza about fostering a love of reading in young children. Both pulled from their personal experiences – Acevedo as a former teacher and Older as someone who grew up in a house full of books – to give the Bronx Book Festival attendees tips they could incorporate in their own lives. Despite the bad weather, the festival was a success because of the work put in by Saraciea J. Fennell, founder of The Bronx is Reading and organizer of the festival, and a small team of dedicated volunteers. This year, the festival is back for its second annual event, and it’s pulling out all the stops. Today, organizers announced that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be in conversation with Sesame Street‘s Sonia Manzano.
Fennell, who is of Honduran descent, started the festival because growing up in Bronx, she had never attended a book festival. Authors and illustrators didn’t visit her school. And at the time of the first festival, the borough had no book stores (Barnes & Noble had recently shut down, and Noëlle Santos was working to launch The Lit. Bar). While Santos took care of the book store thing, her mission remains as important as it was, which is why she and her team have once again been hard at work.
“I am so thrilled to have another stellar line-up for the Bronx Book Festival,” she said in a statement. “We have lots of stuff in store for Bronxites and the general public. The Bronx is Reading – Bronx Book Festival is more than just a festival, it’s a community event and all are invited. Even if you don’t read, come to Fordham Plaza and Fordham University to enjoy the entertainment!”
The festival is a few weeks away, but here’s a few of the authors you should check out.
The Bronx Book Festival takes place June 9, 2019. The event is free, but you need to RSVP to attend.