2019 festival to feature R.J. Palacio, Sonia Sotomayor, Rainbow Rowell, and more

"Every year at the Festival we turn Congress Avenue into Kids On Congress: an energetic thoroughfare of book talks, author signings, and activities for kids and children’s literature lovers of all ages," says TBF Literary Director Julie Wernersbach.


This week the Texas Book Festival announced the full list of children’s and young adult authors who will appear at this year’s festival on October 26 and 27. Headliners this year include internationally best-selling and award-winning author of Wonder, R.J. Palacio, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and critically acclaimed young adult author Rainbow Rowell.


Additionally, Kids on Congress will feature the award-winning author of the middle-grade Treehouse series, Andy Griffiths, best-selling poet and Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander, graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, and more.


"Every year at the Festival we turn Congress Avenue into Kids On Congress: an energetic thoroughfare of book talks, author signings, and activities for kids and children’s literature lovers of all ages," says TBF Literary Director Julie Wernersbach. "We have so many amazing authors we can’t keep it all contained to Congress Avenue. This year, you’ll find children’s and YA authors in the Kirkus Reviews tent on Eleventh Street and at First United Methodist Church on Colorado Street. You’ll also find bilingual story times and panels in our Latinx Lit tent."     


R.J. Palacio will speak about and sign her new graphic novel, White Bird, based on the world and characters of Wonder, on Saturday, October 26. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will speak about and sign her new picture book, Just Ask, on Sunday, October 27.


The festival weekend kicks off Kids on Congress with an epic Graphix Con panel featuring acclaimed middle grade graphic novelists at First United Methodist Church, including Raina Telgemeier, Gale Galligan, and Molly Knox Ostertag. They’ll talk about their new books and the art of creating captivating graphic novels that young readers love.      


Kids on Congress tents will include the following:


  • For the youngest readers, the Read Me a Story tent will feature stories read aloud by top authors and illustrators, such as Judy Schachner, Duncan Tonatiuh, and Raúl the Third. 


  • The Next Chapter tent will feature notable middle-grade chapter book authors on fun panels, including Maulik Pancholy, Gordon Korman, Daniel José Older, Stu Gibbs, Juana Medina, Lisa McMann, Tom Angleberger, and more. 


  • This year, the YA HQ tent will be filled with amazing panels and authors, including sessions with Maureen Johnson, L.L. McKinney, Mariko Tamaki, Hafsah Faizal, Tiffany Jackson, Lilliam Rivera, and many more.


  • The Latinx Lit tent will feature bilingual story time in English and Spanish, along with a special conversation between Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award-winners Yuyi Morales and David Bowles


Returning this year in the center of the festival is the massive tent in partnership with Kirkus Reviews that will be home to a variety of great programming for kids and young adults, including a compelling conversation with Rainbow Rowell about her latest novel, Wayward Son, the highly anticipated sequel to Carry On; and a special spotlight conversation with author Ruta Sepetys about her engrossing, page-turning new historical novel set in late 1950s Spain, The Fountains of Silence. Also grab a seat to go “astro-nuts” with Jon Scieszka and Steven Weinberg as they share the first book in their brand-new series, AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet, and then stick around to climb up into the 117-Story Treehouse with Andy Griffiths


In addition, this year’s programming in the Kirkus Reviews tent features lively panels, including: 


  • When I Was a Kid: Writing Books Inspired by Our Childhoods - Newbery Award-winner Meg Medina, best-selling author Ibi Zoboi, and Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad will take the stage to share their latest books, all fictional stories inspired in different ways by their childhoods. This is a panel with major star power, featuring three of the biggest names in children’s literature who inspire kids with their words every day. 
  • Writing the Civil Rights Movement for Kids - Sharon Robinson, best-selling author and the daughter of baseball player Jackie Robinson, will be joined by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney and author Barry Wittenstein to discuss their new books that remember and celebrate the civil rights movement.  


All events at Kids on Congress are free and open to the public. For more information on the Texas Book Festival, please visit www.texasbookfestival.org, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @texasbookfest. 


The festival’s full author lineup will be announced on August 27. A complete schedule of festival events will be available in early October.      


With a vision to inspire Texans of all ages to love reading, the Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by former First Lady Laura Bush, Mary Margaret Farabee, and a group of volunteers, the nonprofit Texas Book Festival promotes the joys of reading and writing through its annual festival weekend, the Texas Teen Book Festival, the Reading Rock Stars Title I elementary school program, the Real Reads Title I middle and high school program, grants to Texas libraries, and year-round literary programming. The festival is held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol each fall and features more than 275 renowned authors, panels, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities. The 2019 Texas Book Festival weekend will take place October 26-27. Thanks to generous donors, sponsors, and 1,000 volunteers, the Festival remains free and open to the public. Visit www.texasbookfestival.org for more information.