Celebrate Reading, Writing and Illustration with Kids at “Once Upon a BookFest”


The free event lands in Ashland on May 14.


Books have had a tough time lately, with all the talk about banning, taking down, and disrespecting even certified classics. What better time to introduce a young person in your life to the joy of reading – and bring them face-to-face with real-life writers and illustrators?

That’s exactly what the organizers of “Once Upon A BookFest” have in mind. Coming to MetroWest on Saturday, May 14, the free event is billed as “A Festival for the Young at Heart” and aims to celebrate children’s books, authors and readers ranging from middle-level picture books to YA, as well as comics (of course).

The event will feature guest appearances from authors and illustrators, including Nandini Bajpai (“Red Turban White Horse”), LJ Baptiste (“COMIXSCAPE”), Josh Funk (“Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast”), Jannie Ho ( “Mitzi and the Big Bad Nosy Wolf”), Kelly Light (“Louise Loves Art”), Debbi Michiko Florence (“Keiko Carter’s Keep It Together”), Mark Parisi (“Marty Pants”), Tak Toyoshima (” Secret Asian Man”), and many more.

“Local families will have the opportunity to ask questions about the creative process, participate in activities, and be exposed to diverse cultures depicted in stories and artwork,” said organizer Bonnie Mitchell of the Arts Ashland Alliance. “The event will reinforce the value of reading, inspire children to write and/or illustrate their own stories, and create greater awareness of the resources available at the library.”

Visitors can also expect hands-on workshops, author presentations, book sales and signings, and food trucks! Once Upon A BookFest takes place Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ashland Public Library.

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Scott R. Banks