The University of Iowa

One Book, Two Book Festival This Weekend

A new generation of readers get their due when the UNESCO City of Literature’s fourth annual children’s literature festival, “One Book, Two Book,” comes to the Sheraton Hotel March 6-8. The event is sponsored by the Sheraton, Johnson County Community Foundation, area libraries and the Iowa Youth Writing Program.

The festival kicks off with the “Once Upon a Time” dinner on Friday night, featuring well-known children’s author and illustrator, David LaRochelle, who will give a preview of his keynote speech. The highlight of the night, however, is when selected participants from 21 area schools will read from their works. For many of these students, it will be their first time reading to an audience, much less an audience of over 300 people.

LaRochelle is the author of well-known children’s stories like Moo! and It’s a Tiger!. He worked as an elementary school teacher before making a career out of his writing and illustrating talents. He’s published over 25 books, and has recently begun dabbling in young adult literature.

Saturday’s schedule contains a day of events for both children and adults, including a performance by Girls Rock!, a music education and empowerment group. This is the first time the festival will feature music, with instruments available for purchase from vendors who will be in attendance. Items like toys and puzzles will also be available for purchase.

Rachel Carlson, Director of Operations at Iowa City’s UNESCO chapter, said there will be more sellers present at this event than at any of the previous festivals.

Carlson adds that this year’s children’s book festival is unique because of its adult programming. Adults can sit in on workshops like “Toybox Tools for Reading,” which will feature The Haunted Bookshop’s toy buyer, Marie Raven. She will give information on toys that build reading skills for children before they’ve begun reading.