The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, September 3 – 5, is in its fifth year, and although you might not think of a book festival as a fun jaunt with your young one, think again! The festival holds a children’s parade on Saturday and Sunday mornings where children come dressed as storybook characters!
Two years ago, the parade theme was Madeline – a book by Ludwig Bemelmans that is dear to my heart. I have read it numerous times to my oldest daughter and Brianna as well. Ludwig’s grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano, had just written Madeline and the Cats of Rome and was leading the children’s parade. We arrived early with our Madeline-bedecked Brianna, expecting about 30 to 50 kids to show up. Imagine my surprise when there were more like 500! Wide-brimmed yellow hats bobbed as children and parents alike marched to the Decatur Square ready to hear Marciano read his book from the Target Children’s Stage.
This year, New York Times bestselling author of the Llama Llama children’s book series, Anna Dewdney, will lead children and parents in a parade around downtown Decatur on Saturday morning. The parade will be based on Dewdney’s original Llama Llama book, Llama Llama Red Pajama. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas in the parade.
On Sunday, kids are invited to dress up as author Jacky Davis’s Ladybug Girl and join the festival’s Ladybug Girl parade. Afterwards, Davis will read at the Children’s Stage.
Besides the two parades, the festival will feature a wide array of fun and educational events for children of all ages on the Children’s Stage, including a rendition of Charlotte’s Web by the Center for Puppetry Arts, a flamenco dance, fun-filled readings, interactive panels, and a Star Wars Extravaganza, featuring Storm Troopers.
Other bestselling and award-winning authors of children’s books who will appear on the Children’s Stage at the festival include Jeanne Birdsall, who won a National Book Award for The Penderwicks; Ridly Pearson, who is co-author with Dave Barry of the Peter and the Starcatchers series; Bob Shea, author of Dinosaur vs. Bedtime; and Michael Buckley, author of Sisters Grimm.
When we went to the Madeline event, Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories, set up to sell Marciano’s book, sold out of several hundred books by the time Marciano was finished reading to the crowd—a lesson to me to buy the book first and then grab a seat in the tent.
For more information and a schedule of children’s – and adult’s – events, visit the Decatur Book Festival website.
Read more of Sherri’s travel adventures at Browns Guides.