As schools, libraries, and bookstores are forced to shutter nationwide due to the new coronavirus outbreak, Scholastic is rapidly moving to provide young readers with opportunities to engage with authors in a virtual book festival to be held this Friday, March 20 beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
The virtual book festival will include multiple authors in half hour segments with activities for kids that include a costume contest, a story round robin, a map game, and Q&A sessions with authors. Scholastic’s Home Base website will host the festival, which will include Goosebumps author R.L. Stine, Whatever After author Sarah Mlynowski, and Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond author Sayantani Dasgupta.
“Since many live book events have been canceled, we wanted to give kids the same opportunity to engage with some beloved authors like R.L. Stine and to discover new favorites as well,” said Erin Berger, senior v-p of marketing at Scholastic.
Among the new authors is debut writer Claribel Ortega, whose Ghost Squad publishes April 7. “As a debut author, I was so excited about getting out there to connect with readers,” Ortega wrote in a statement. “Though some of my events were canceled, I’m thrilled at the chance to reach them in this creative way on Home Base.”
Dasgupta said, “Stories are good medicine, today and every day. I’m so excited to connect with book lovers of all ages… sharing silliness and fun.”
Scholastic intends to follow the first Home Base festival with a second one just seven days later. The March 27 festival will include authors Lauren Tarshis, Tracey West, Christina Soontornvat, and Aida Salazar.
Soontornvat spent much of her week organizing a digital festival of her own, with fellow authors Ellen Oh and Melanie Conklin. The Everywhere Book Fest will take place online from May 1–2.
For attendees at the Home Base digital book festival, an account is necessary to participate, and can be created for free via the Home Base website, Google Play, or the Apple App Store.