WESTPORT, NY — Local author Benjamin Giroux will open the first Adirondack Family Book Festival on Saturday, August 20, at 9:50 a.m., with a deeply personal talk about the importance of supporting and listening to youth voices.
The festival will be held outdoors at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site, 115 John Brown Road in Lake Placid, and is free and open to all ages. Festival grounds open at 9:30 a.m. and the day ends at 4 p.m. following a Youth Voices panel. In case of inclement weather, it will be moved indoors to the Lake Placid Middle-High School.
Giroux, now a rising high school junior, was 10 years-old when he wrote a poem called “I Am Odd, I Am New” about living with autism. His poem, also an award-winning picture book and critically acclaimed song and music video, has inspired people around the globe and has been translated into several languages.
With his reassuring message that being different is a good thing, Ben has been the face of the National Autism Association’s antibullying campaign. He has been featured in the Huffington Post and on the Today Show and Good Morning America.
“I’m excited to be part of this festival, especially since it’s the first year,” said Ben from his Plattsburgh home. “It’s really cool that I get to kick off the day talking about the importance of giving kids a voice, especially kids on the spectrum.”
Adalyne Perryman, a senior studying English literature at SUNY Oneonta, and Olivia Mair, a rising freshman at Guilderland High School near Albany, have been involved in planning the festival and will introduce authors, help with arts and crafts activities, and participate on the Youth Voices panel.
“I’ve grown up in Lake Placid, and especially the Lake Placid Public Library,” commented Adalyne. “Books are intertwined with my youth, and I’m excited for the festival.”
“It’s great we’re doing this festival because kids are less into reading nowadays, and I feel like getting to know some great authors and learning about new books could get them excited about reading again,” added Olivia.
Authors and artists will read from and talk about their work and be on hand throughout the day to meet their readers and autograph books. In addition to Ben Giroux, they include: Tracey Baptiste, Jason Chin, Kyle Lukoff, Linda Sue Park, Amy Guglielmo, Kekla Magoon, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Joseph Bruchac, Maxwell Eaton, III, Rajani LaRocca, Kate Messner, and Laura Ruby.
Plattsburgh author/artist and Creative Director of Reading Rainbow Live Amy Guglielmo has planned craft activities including making flower and nature crowns and folded creature puppets until 3 p.m. There are three StoryWalks on site, and an opportunity for children to plant sunflower seeds to take home.
“We are very grateful for the outpouring of interest and support we have received,” said Martha Swan, Executive Director of John Brown Lives! “Generous funding from LEAF, the Rotary Club of Lake Placid, Educational Opportunity Fund, numerous sponsors and individual donors, plus hundreds of volunteer hours, make the festival possible. We hope it will become an annual event!”
For more information on this year’s authors and the festival schedule go to https://adirondackfamilybookfestival.wordpress.com/ or contact John Brown Lives! at 518-744-7112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo at top: Plattsburgh author Benjamin Giroux. Photo provided by Martha Swan of John Brown Lives!