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Youth book festival to present award-winning authors, illustrators Saturday in Cape Vincent


CAPE VINCENT — The second annual Thousand Islands Book Festival, “Reading on the River,” will provide north country residents a chance to meet with writers of books for children and young adults in a full-day event that includes author readings and book signings.

The festival will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cape Vincent Elementary School, 410 S. Esselstyne St.

“Last year the children were totally enchanted and amazed,” festival chairwoman Elisabeth P. Brennan said. “There was an education process for people in the north country about what a book festival is.” Mrs. Brennan said there will be something for every reader from preschool to middle school.

Last year was the first event of its kind for the region, Mrs. Brennan said. Nearly 200 people attended the event.

“I don’t think people knew what to expect, but instead of just getting a copy of the book, they got to meet with the authors,” Mrs. Brennan said. “If you want to get a kid at any age to get excited about reading, then listening to the author read is one way to engage them.”

Similar festivals have been held elsewhere. The closest for people in the region are held annually in Rochester. Mrs. Brennan said members of the Jefferson-Lewis Library Association were inspired by a children’s book festival seven years ago.

“It was always, ‘We don’t have enough people,’ all these different reasons why we can’t,” Mrs. Brennan said of earlier proposals for such a festival locally. “I finally said I wouldn’t mind being the chair as long as I had people behind me to help.”

Last year several organizations and authors worked together to create the event, Mrs. Brennan said. The focus then was on the elementary school reading level. This year there will be new authors brought in to have something for everyone. The range of reading levels has been expanded to middle school and young adult books.

“We wanted to give our communities and especially our children the chance to be part of such a celebration of reading and writing,” Mrs. Brennan said.

She said one day she hopes to expand and hold other festivals for teens and adults.

The event is free and sponsored by the Jefferson-Lewis Library Association, the New York Library Association, and Poets and Writers Inc. Funds to hire authors and writers were made possible through contributions from the Thousand Islands Literacy Council, town and village of Cape Vincent, Cape Vincent Public Library, Cape Vincent Arts Council, Bob and Angie Meeks and Whitesboro Snowplow.

Children should be accompanied by an adult.

Mrs. Brennan said credit or debit cards won’t be accepted for purchases, but cash or checks will be welcome.

For more information, call 654-2480 or visit the event’s Facebook page at

Youth Book Festival Authors

The authors appearing at the second annual Thousand Islands Book Festival, “Reading on the River,” include some who are prominent nationwide and others better known closer to home.

The roster features Suzanne Bloom, Kalli Dakos, Matt McElligott, Hope Irvin Marston, Vivian Vande Velde, Terry Trueman, H. Frank Cammuso, Christie Casciano, Joe Bruchac and the father-son authors of the “Adirondack Kids” series, Gary and Justin VanRiper,

Ms. Bloom, New York City, is a writer and illustrator of books for preschool to early elementary school reading levels. Some of her titles are “Fox Forgets,” “A Splendid Friend Indeed” and “No Place for a Pig.”

n Mr. Bruchac, an Adirondack native, has written more than 120 books for children and adults, including “Keepers of the Earth,” “A Boy Called Slow,” “When the Chenoo Howls,” “Bear Walker” and poetry such as “Above the Line” and “Ndakinna.”

n Ms. Dakos, a former teacher and reading specialist, is a poet and author. Her books of poetry include: “If You’re Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand, Poems About School.” She has written many collections of school poems, including “Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig,” “Don’t Read This Book Whatever You Do!” “The Goof Who Invented Homework” and “The Bug in Teacher’s Coffee.” Her new poetry book, “A Funeral in the Bathroom,” includes “Blabbermouth,” “Flushophobic” and “There’s a Sock in the Toilet.”

n Mr. McElligott, Albany, is a writer of children’s books for preschool to fifth-grade reading levels. His works have included “Benjamin Franklinstein Meets Thomas Deadison” and “Even Aliens Need Snacks.”

n Ms. Marston is a Watertown author of nonfiction and historical fiction for children. Her work includes “My Little Books Series” of animal stories with more than 128,000 copies in print. She has also written “My Little Book of Bald Eagles.”

n Ms. Velde, Rochester, is a writer of young-adult science fiction books about vampires and other mythological characters. Her work includes “A Hidden Magic,” “Being Dead,” “Companions of the Night,” “Never Trust a Dead Man” and “The Rumpelstiltskin Problem.”

n Mr. Trueman, Spokane, Wash., is a young adult author. His books include “Stuck in Neutral,” “Inside Out,” “No Right Turn” and “Swallowing the Sun.”

n Mr. Cammuso is an author/illustrator of graphic novels. He is the author of several book series, including “The Misadventures of Salem Hyde” and “Knights of the Lunch Table.” Other graphic novels he has written and illustrated include “Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective.”

n Ms. Casciano, Syracuse, is a hockey parent of two. Her two books, “The Puck Hog” and “The Puck Hog Volume 2: Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid,” are based on her children’s hockey experiences.

n Gary VanRiper and his son Justin are authors of the popular “The Adirondack Kids” series of 12 books.

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