On April 11, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 authors, readers, and literature enthusiasts will all gather for the 10th Annual Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery, AL. The festival is a free, family-friendly event and will feature about 50 exhibitors and 45 authors.
The event is held in Old Alabama Town, which is located at 301 Columbus Street in Montgomery. The site has been home to the state’s largest literary event for the last 10 years and is an integral part of the experience.
“Philosophically, Landmarks created Old Alabama Town to be a living history, and a lot of writing is just that — keeping history alive — so it made sense to bring history together with reading and to partner with different groups that wanted to put this together,” Elizabeth Kennedy Lowler, president of the Landmarks Foundation Board, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “The venue is extremely family-friendly, and the Alabama Book Festival targets audiences of all ages.”
According to AL.com, bestselling authors Pat Conroy, Rick Bragg, Daniel Wallace, Kim Cross and many more will attend the festival, and books in a smattering of different genres will be available for purchase.
Additionally, the festival includes activities like writing workshops, readings, author discussions and presentations, and children’s activities.
One of the most important things about the event is the way it enables the community to engage with books — especially children who should be cultivating a love of reading. Studies show that children between the ages of two and seven were read to for an average of 45 minutes a day in 1999. By 2013, that number fell to only 30 minutes per day.
In an interview with Alabama Public Radio last month, Daniel Willingham (who authored “Raising Kids Who Read”) said that teaching kids to read is not synonymous with teaching kids to love to read.
When asked how to foster a love of reading in kids, Willingham says that the first part is being a good model to follow — kids who see their parents read are more likely to read themselves. Showing a child that he or she is in a family of people who love to read will help them come to love it too.
“You should model reading, make reading pleasurable, read aloud to your kid in situations that are warm and create positive associations,” Willingham added. “But also setting a tone where our family is one where we like to learn new things.”