Nicole Mackin, 12, of Alvaton, watched excitedly Friday as one of her favorite authors entered the Carroll Knicely Conference Center ballroom during Children’s Day at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest.
“She’s here! She’s here!” Nicole said upon seeing Debbie Dadey, author of “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” series.
Nicole, a sixth-grader at Alvaton Elementary School, has read many books in the series, which combines two of her favorite genres – mystery and fantasy.
Children’s Day drew hundreds of students, who were able to meet and to hear presentations by authors of books for children and young adults. SOKY Book Fest activities on Friday also included the Kentucky Writers Conference, featuring writing workshops led by authors.
The 15th annual book fest – a fundraiser for the promotion of literacy in the community – continues today at the Knicely Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A full schedule of events and a list of attending authors is available online at www.sokybookfest.org.
Young adult author Jennifer Bradbury enjoyed seeing the children’s excitement at the book fest Friday. Bradbury is an Owensboro native and Western Kentucky University graduate who now lives in Burlington, Wash.
“Coming out to these kinds of things is so fun,” she said. (You’re) “connecting with people you’ve been writing for all along.”
Jolie Finley, 11, a sixth-grader at Natcher Elementary School, walked among the tables of books during Children’s Day.
“I’ve read the backs of a lot of books,” she said.
Several mystery books caught her eye.
“I like mysteries a lot – the scary kind,” she said.
Jolie enjoys reading because it gives her insight into someone else’s perspective.
“I get to go to a different place when I read,” she said. “I’m not where I am anymore.”
Author and illustrator Amy Ignatow spoke to children about her book series “The Popularity Papers.”
“I always loved telling stories and I always loved making drawings, so it just made sense (to choose this career),” she said.
She got the idea for the characters in “The Popularity Papers,” who are a close-knit group of friends, by thinking about her own friends from elementary school.
“That’s when you’re old enough to really make your own friends ... that’s a really major thing,” she said.
Campbell Richey, 9, a third-grader at McNeill Elementary School, enjoyed Ignatow’s presentation.
“I thought it was really cool that she did it based on some of her friends and that it’s based on real life,” she said.
Campbell hasn’t read any of the books in “The Popularity Papers” series but is interested in them now.
“I think I’m going to start reading it,” she said. “I’ve heard some good things from my friends.”
Harrison Gover, 8, who’s in third grade at McNeill, was familiar with author Obert Skye’s books before listening to him speak Friday.
“I liked them,” he said. “I think they’re really funny. I re-read them every day.”
For the last several weeks, Tara Griffith, librarian at McNeill, has been introducing students to books written by authors attending the book fest.
“I just think being able to meet the author makes the book more real to them ... they can actually put a face to the name of the book they’re reading,” she said.