Chicago Public Library’s Bookamania Connects Family Literacy, Learning and Play During Daylong Event

Chicago Public Library celebrates families learning together on Saturday, November 23, with Bookamania 2013: All Families, All Year, engaging children in reading, learning and playing activities. This year, parents and caregivers will also get the opportunity to participate in events offering early literacy instructions for adults. Presented for the 20th consecutive year, the free, daylong children’s book festival takes place at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St. Kicking off at 11 a.m. and continuing until 3 p.m. throughout the library, Bookamania is made possible by a generous grant from Target Corporation through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

“Early and frequent exposure to books, reading aloud, literacy activities and play helps build a foundation for reading in children by third grade,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “Research indicates that early contact to reading promotes healthy literacy skills, imagination, creativity and self-esteem. Bookamania offers families a day of free activities combining learning with play, in a fun, engaging and encouraging library environment.”

Bookamania activities are targeted for children ages 3-10 years and their families. This event allows children and families to come together through books, storytelling, music, theater and meeting children’s book authors and illustrators. Major additions this year include active play spaces, designed for children to develop better learning and motor skills; and art and craft extensions, where children can show creativity and earn a new book for completing activities.

Also added this year, parents and caregivers can learn ways to extend their children’s love for learning and books at special informational sessions designed just for them. Dr. Dana Suskind from the University of Chicago and CPL children’s librarian Jenna Nemec, (Every Child Ready to Read @ your library) will offer parents advice on establishing literacy skills through everyday activities in the home.

Bookamania features Caldecott Award-winning author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, creator of many distinguished books for children including Penny and Her Marble and The Year of Billy Miller. Children and families can meet Mr. Henkes and other authors and illustrators including Mac Barnett (Count the Monkeys); Laurie Lawlor (Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World); Janice Harrington (Busy-Busy Little Chick); René Colato Laínez (Señor Pancho Had a Rancho); and Tom Lichtenheld (Steam Train, Dream Train) during the event.

Also featured are stories and performances by Gwen Hilary, Enoch Williamson, Jasmin Cardenas, Miss Lori, The Mad Hatters of the Junior League of Chicago, Sean Masterson and Chris Fascione, a longtime favorite at Bookamania. Children also can enjoy family reading in The Big Red Chair, TheatreWorks USA’s production of Skippyjon Jones, the Storybook King and Queen, and the Jabberwocky Marionettes. Moreover, kids can have their picture taken with their favorite storybook characters including Lilly, Elephant and Piggie, Pete the Cat, Skippyjon Jones, Martha the Talking Dog and Lars the Polar Bear. In addition, a children’s booklist will be provided, and Sandmeyer’s Bookstore will sell books in the South Hall.

Bookamania extends Chicago Public Library’s yearlong family literacy programs including the Winter Learning Challenge, Hop Into Reading and the Summer Learning Challenge. The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology. Through its 80 locations, the Library provides free access to a rich collection of materials, both physical and digital, and presents the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults. For more information, visit or call the Chicago Public Library at (312) 747-4050.