by Whitney Hunter
The 2012 Savannah Children’s Book Festival is set for Saturday, November 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Forsyth Park in Savannah. The festival is presented by Live Oak Public Libraries and the City of Savannah. The ninth annual festival celebrates the joy of reading, the power of the written word and the magic of storytelling with children’s book authors and illustrators from around the country. This year’s featured authors and illustrators include: Tad Hills, author and illustrator of “Rocket Writes a Story,” “How Rocket Learned to Read” and “Duck & Goose,” Victoria Kann, illustrator and co-author of “Pinkalicious” and “Purplicious,” Laura Vaccaro Seeger, author and illustrator of “Green,” “Dog and Bear” and “First the Egg” and Andrea Davis Pinkney, author of “Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America” and “Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down.”
New York Times bestselling children’s author Andrea Pinkney will bring her art of colorful storytelling to the Savannah Children’s Book Festival. Pinkney is the author of “Bird in a Box,” which was a “Today Show” Al Roker Book Club pick and “Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride,” a Jane Addams Honor Book and School Library Journal’s “Best Book of the Year.”
Pinkney, named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and one of the “ 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” by Children’s Health Magazine, developed a talent for storytelling at an early age.
“I have been a writer since second grade; I kept a notebook and wrote stories then entered a writing contest in the sixth grade — and won,” Pinkney said. “As a prize I got to take my family to a lobster dinner. I remember thinking, this is great. I can feed my family through my writing. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.”
Her latest nonfiction work “Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America,” has received several starred reviews, including those from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. The book tells the story of 10 African- American men from different eras in history and their impact on society. “Their efforts came together like links in a chain to tell one incredible story and that was a story I wanted to tell. No other book brings these stories together in this way.”
Men profiled are Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and President Barack Obama.
Of her creative process, Pinkney says, “Real writers write every day. I write every day. I show up to do the writing and let my characters, plot and storyline come through me,” Pinkney said. “I am here to craft and shape the narrative into what will hopefully become a book.”
Pinkney says she is looking forward to experiencing the charm of Savannah, getting to know the other authors featured at the festival and is often inspired with new book ideas when she visits the South.
Her upcoming projects include “Martin and Mahaila,” a book centered on the friendship between civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. and legendary gospel singer Mahaila Jackson.
Pinkney offers two points of advice for writers looking to break into the children’s book market: read and write.
“Read the best of the genre. Read everything. Read what you like and what you don’t like,” Pinkney said. “Become a scholar of the genre. Find out what people are reading and why it’s popular–and work hard at your own writing”
The free festival will also include authors and illustrators from throughout the Low Country and Southeast region, arts and crafts, costumed characters, a graphic/comics area, and a variety of food and entertainment. In addition, a book walk will be staged among the trees so families may enjoy a story together reading from one page to the next throughout the park. This year’s book walk selection is the bestselling “How Rocket Learned to Read,” and a special morning reading will be led by the book’s author, Tad Hills.
J’miah Nabawi will again host the festival’s International Tent, which will feature a variety of multicultural musical programs and storytelling sessions. Young actors from the Savannah Children’s Theatre will also perform special skits and short plays throughout the day.
Major sponsors are the Live Oak Public Libraries Foundation and Gulfstream Aerospace.
The rain location for the event is the Savannah Civic Center. For more information, call 912-652-3605.
For more info on The Savannah Children’ Book Festival visit liveoakpl.org.