PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The African American Children’s Book Fair is coming back to Philadelphia on Saturday and will bring dozens of authors from across the country.
“If you want to create a reader at home, give them choice. Choice makes a real important part,” says Vanesse Lloyd Sgambati, who founded the book fair 28 years ago.
The one-day event drawns thousands of families from across the region. The big draw is hundreds of books featuring diverse characters and stories about people of color. And visitors will have a chance to meet authors and illustrators in person.
“We have eight of the 13 African Americans who were on the New York Times Best Seller List who will be in Philadelphia,” Sgambati said.
The afternoon will include activities that promote reading and allow kids and parents to browse some of the most popular books for children and teens, including “Sulwe,” written Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, about a little girl with dark skin.
“She is celebrating her color,” Sgambati said.
Another highlight is “The King of Kindergarten” by Derrick Barnes, about a mother helping her confident little boy take pride in his first day of kindergarten.
“When you want your kid to go to school, you want to empower him,” Sgambati said.
A Philadelphia native, Sgambati has traveled the world, and it began with travel books she checked out at her neighborhood bookmobile.
“And that’s why it’s important for children to read,” she said.
The African American Children’s Book Fair is free and takes place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Community College of Philadelphia.