Sunday April 20, 2014 2:17 a.m. MDT
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Steamboat's 1st children's author festival set for this weekend

Sarah Kostin, the youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library, leads a presentation about Book Feast, a children's author festival that will take place Friday and Saturday.

Sarah Kostin, the youth services librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library, leads a presentation about Book Feast, a children's author festival that will take place Friday and Saturday.

If you go

What: Children's Book Feast author festival

When: 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday

Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library and the Depot Art Center

Cost: FREE to $7; Depot Art Center workshops are $10 each

— About 100 hands shot into the air a split second after Sarah Kostin uttered the question, “Who likes to read?”

Kostin, the youth services librarian for Bud Werner Memorial Library, was visiting sixth-graders at Steamboat Springs Middle School last week for a presentation to a group of book-hungry students eager to devour contemporary children’s literature in class, in the school library and at home.

This weekend, the young bookworms of Steamboat and beyond will have a chance to get the stories behind their favorite stories during a two-day festival with well-known children’s authors and illustrators.

Citali Escacega, who had just started her sixth-grade year days before Kostin visited, said she was excited about Book Feast, the new children’s author festival planned by the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Bud Werner Memorial Library and the Steamboat Springs School District.

“It sounds really fun, and I want to meet the authors because they wrote cool books,” she said.

The event costs $7 for general admission and $10 for each of the intimate workshops featuring professional authors at the Depot Art Center.

There will be free events like face painting and mural art going on outside the library while the seminars and workshops run at Library Hall and in the children’s Story-time Room as well as at the Depot.

Book Feast begins at 5 p.m. Friday with an interactive musical storytelling event from Bonnie Phipps. Participants then will get a chance to talk with authors Wendy Mass (“11 Birthdays”) and Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady graphic novel series) via Skype.

On Saturday, the event begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m.

Visiting authors include poet Caroline Stutson (“Night Train”), Ingrid Law (“Savvy”) and Sneed Collard (“Pocket Babies”) as well as part-time Steamboat resident Avi and Colorado author Michelle Rodenburg, who will offer workshops and seminars on topics like “A Writer’s Life,” The Secret of Good Writing,” storytelling and drawing dinosaurs.

The event closes with a Skype session with My Weird School series author Dan Gutman, followed by a meet-and-greet and book signing with all the on-site authors at 4:30 p.m.

Leo Loya, a sixth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School, said he was eager to talk with Krosoczka via Skype because he thinks the Lunch Lady graphic novels are hilarious.

“I read them to my little brother, and he started cracking up,” he said. “I like funny books.”

Strawberry Park Elementary School librarian Sherry Holland, who helped organize Book Feast along with Kostin, Arts Council program director Susan Whittlesey and Off the Beaten Path event coordinator Kim Keith, said students will have a unique opportunity this weekend.

“My ultimate goal is that it really just motivates and inspires the kids to jump in and just starting looking at art, literature and being creative,” Holland said. “It’s a chance to get up close and personal with authors, illustrators and to see they do have a place to express themselves.”

She said sponsorships helped the organizers offer five tickets each to more than 20 families as scholarships to the event, which is open to students beyond Routt County, as well.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “I know when you meet an author and learn about how they do what they do, it gives you a whole connection to why you pick up a book.”

As she described the event to the sixth-graders last week, Kostin explained how Book Feast is more than books; it’s also about visual art, music, acting and writing.

“We’re going to feast ourselves on all of these things,” she said. “It’s really inspiring.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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