Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Five reasons to be part of Brooklyn Book Festival 2013

Brooklyn is book country on September 21–22, when the Brooklyn Book Festival 2013—author readings, workshops and storytimes—takes over the lit-loving borough.

Brooklyn Book Festival 2013, the fest's eighth iteration, takes over the Borough of Kings for two lit-packed days on the weekend of September 21–22. (We'll be there on Sunday with our Time Out Kids photo booth, so stop by, say hello and get your kids' picture taken while you're there.) Though you can't go wrong with any of the fest's kids' offerings, we've culled the five best ways to enjoy the borough-wide celebration of all things bookish. Here are our favorite things to do at the Brooklyn Book Festival 2013.

RECOMMENDED: 50 things to do in New York City this fall

Start the party early

Nearly all of this year's kid-friendly "bookend" events will be held on Saturday, September 21, the day before the official festival. You can head to BAMkids Movie Matinees for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the original film version of Charlotte's Web, which will be screened simultaneously with its 2006, live-action counterpart. Pick the one you think the kids will like best and enjoy! If you'd rather be outdoors, head to the New York Aquarium (11:30am–12:30pm) or the Prospect Park Zoo (2–3pm) for readings by children's book authors Tori Blackwell (Don't Judge a Book by Its Feathers) and Marcellus Hall (Everyone Sleeps). And if you find yourself wanting to celebrate out-of-the-box thinking, don't miss Jumping Out of Boxes: Celebrating Gender Creativity in Children's Books at BookCourt, with authors Cory Silverberg and Melanie Hope Greenberg. Finally, if you've got a tween in the house, head to powerHouse Books earlier in the week, on Tuesday, September 17, for the launch of the new YA imprint Lizzie Skurnick Books with special-guest author Lois Duncan.

Meet kid-fave authors

Centrally located on Borough Hall Plaza, the tented Target Children's Area is the festival's mainstay for families with young kids, who can take in a slew of readings from fan favorites including Peter Brown (Mr. Tiger Goes Wild; Will You Be My Friend?); Betsy Bird (the children's library specialist extraordinaire who penned our top 50 books for kids article, here debuting her book Giant Dance Party) and David Ezra Stein (Interrupting Chicken, Love Mouserella) reading their new books; visit brooklynbookfestival.org for the complete schedule. After each reading, authors and illustrators sign books, which can be brought along by kids or purchased at designated tables right outside the tent.

Stop by can't-miss events

Over at the Youth Stoop (at the plaza and in Columbus Park), somewhat older readers will get treated to laugh-inducing antics from the formidable Jeff Smith (the beloved Bone series) and Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm), who kick the fest off (10am); watch cartoonists including Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Raina Telgemeier face off in the Comics Quick Draw (11am); and take in a talk about that forgotten group, the middle grade readers (ages 8 to 12), with this year's Newbery Medal winner, Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan) (4pm). Another not-to-miss author appearance: the iconic Lois Lowry (1pm at St. Francis Auditoriium), the recipient of this year's Brooklyn Book Festival BoBi Award and one of the most important children's and YA authors of our time, will have a conversation with Katherine Applegate that's sure to be as enlightening to her fans as her books.

Take a hands-on workshop

Three kid-friendly workshops will be offered in the Borough Hall Conference Room in the afternoon: Your Secret Writing Recipe will get young writers started on a new project (1pm; ages 8–12); You Can Do a Comic Book, in which comic book creater Barbara Slate shares some tricks of her trade (2pm; ages 8 to 10; bring a sketchbook and pencils); and Instant Comic Book, where Robyn Chapman demonstrates how to make a book out of a single piece of paper at the Comics and Foldys workshop (3pm; ages 12 and up; materials will be provided).


As Brooklynites love food almost as much as they do books, plan to lunch on fare from this year's on-site food vendors. Nuchas II offers fresh-baked enchiladas; Mamu Thai Noodle whips up pad thai, pad siew and drunken noodles, each of which can be had in tofu, chicken or shrimp versions; Caribbean Island Food Festival specializes in such regional fare as roasted corn and escovitch tilapia; and the unlikely named Paris Sandwiches proffers Vietnamese appetizers and baguette bahn mi. Coffee from RealBeanz and gelato from Screme Gelato make for the perfect pick-me-up all day long.

The Brooklyn Book Festival takes place on Sun Sept 22 at Borough Hall Plaza and in Columbus Park, Downtown Brooklyn (brooklynbookfest.org). Bookend events take place at venues across the borough from Sept 16 to 21.

Events for kids by date

Americangirl.com for Events!

  1. No results, please select another day