The San Antonio Book Festival has only been running for seven years, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. Each year, the event draws big guests and even bigger crowds to Central Library and the Southwest School of Art for a day that celebrates books for all ages and tastes. While a love for reading endures in many adults, there’s something special about the magic that books hold for children. The Book Festival capitalizes on this in its Children’s Area, which features children’s book readings by guest authors, a performance of Dr. Krashundbang by the Magik Theatre and Spanish Storytime by Cuentology, plus a myriad of mind-expanding activities including bookmark-making, paper-marbling and even a chance to meet the ballerinas from the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio. But don’t worry — teens aren’t left to hang out to dry. YA authors will gather in the Geektown area, including actor and singer-songwriter Val Emmich, who worked with Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to create a novelization of the hit musical Dear Evan Hansen.
Famous storytelling show The Moth returns to the Book Festival this year on the tails of its recently released collection of stories Occasional Magic. Fans who want to kick things off early can check out a performance of The Moth Mainstage on Friday ($25-$100, 7pm Fri, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St.), then can catch a panel by Occasional Magic editor and The Moth artistic director Catherine Burns on Saturday afternoon (2:30pm Sat, Southwest School of Art, Rogers Hall, 1201 Navarro St.). The fest’s mind-boggling total of 80 panels will take over myriad spaces across the library and Southwest School of Art campus, featuring speakers such as Newberry Award-winning author Meg Medina, journalist Anna Merlan, San Antonio luminary Lila Banks Cockrell, prolific wordsmith and UT Michener Chair Elizabeth McCracken and more. Notable panels include “San Antonio’s Environmental History” with Char Miller, author of San Antonio: A Tricentennial History (10am Sat, Central Library, West Terrace); “Home Is Stronger than a Wall” with Alfredo Corchado, Reyna Grande and Jean Guerrero (10am Sat, Southwest School of Art, Rogers Hall); San Antonio native and The Haunting of Hill House actor Henry Thomas’ discussion of his debut novel The Window and the Mirror (11am Sat, Southwest School of Art, Coates Chapel); “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves” with Glory Edim and Camille Acker (1pm Sat, Central Library, West Terrace); and “Queer as Folk: Writing LGBT Characters” with Melissa Febos, Mathangi Subramanian and Bryan Washington (3:45pm Sat, Central Library, Latino Collection Resource Center). Authors are also available for signings after their panels, but be prepared to hoof it to a secondary location in order to get an autograph.