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Area festival is one to bookmark

016-PO-BooksBookworms of all ages can find something to enjoy in the Fox Cities Book Festival. Returning April 18-24, this year’s event is expected to draw 40-45 authors, shares Jeff Kuepper, immediate past president of the board.

“If there’s anything that’s formulaic about the festival it’s that we look at different genres and ages,” adds Kuepper. “It’s a big part of what we do. We really want to get young readers excited about the joys of reading.”

The Fox Cities Book Festival also hosts the author selected for Fox Cities Reads, a joint effort of the Fox Cities libraries which started in 2007 to offer suggestions for community reads, and ties into Money Smart Week and Earth Smart Week.

Past Fox Cities Reads selections have raised concerns and sparked conversation, Kuepper adds. Christina Baker Kline’s “Orphan Train” was selected last year and prompted readers to bring in photos to share with the author during the festival. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio also reached a wide audience in 2014.

“What stemmed out of that was an intergenerational conversation,” shares Kuepper. “Hopefully there’s a ripple effect with some of the authors we bring in.”

This year, the festival is working with Fox Cities book clubs to gain feedback in addition to reader surveys done during the event itself. As Kuepper notes, many individuals like to know authors in advance so they have time to read the selections.

In addition to working with area libraries, the festival works to get authors into schools to speak to K-12 students, along with University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and Fox Valley Technical College. Many authors also conduct workshops that can include topics ranging from revising your manuscript to how to get published, Kuepper says.

Authors expected to attend this year’s festival include W. Nikola-Lisa who has written books focused on beginning readers through young adult nonfiction and James DeVita who has published two novels for younger readers, but most recently released the adult mystery, “A Winsome Murder.”

For more information on the festival or Fox Cities reads, visit: foxcitiesbookfestival.org or foxcitiesreads.org.

—FC

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