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Children’s Book Festival Celebrates 15 Years of Reading and the Ar

Posted on January 31, 2024

Johnstown, PA (Jan. 31, 2024)The Learning Lamp and 1st Summit Bank present the Children’s Book Festival, returning for a fun-filled weekend on April 13 and 14, 2024, at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center located at 411 Third Avenue in Johnstown. The festival promises a weekend brimming with renowned children’s authors and illustrators, accompanied by a diverse range of activities and entertainment designed to captivate the imaginations of children and families of all ages and backgrounds.

Whether you are a parent, or a teacher, of young children, you are bound to be familiar with the hugely popular and bestselling Biscuit book series. The adventures of a loveable and mischievous little yellow puppy have inspired both preschoolers and beginning readers for 28 years! Join us in welcoming Alyssa Capucilli, the award-winning, imaginative author of the Biscuit book series, Tulip and Rex, the Katy Duck series, The Library Fish and more, to the 2024 Children’s Book Festival.

We’re celebrating the 15th year of the festival with the theme Bark, Roar and Explore. The Children’s Book Festival provides children in grades PreK – 6 and their families with a FREE, interactive, and engaging literary experience that inspires in children a love for books, encourages parents to read to their little ones, and gives families access to affordable new and used books to build home libraries of their own. Every child attending the Book Festival will also receive a free book.

In addition to Capucilli’s presentation, the festival will feature other nationally and regionally known authors/illustrators like Bob Shea, the award-winning author and illustrator known for his whimsical and humorous approach to children’s literature. Shea is well known for his Dinosaur Vs. series, Ballet Cat series, and runaway smash hit – Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. Bob was the designer of the PBS Kids logo, worked with Nick, Jr., and Dreamworks is developing one of his books into a television show.

Rounding out the lineup is Alicia Salazar, a Mexican American children’s book author who has written for blogs, magazines, and education publishers. Alicia is a former elementary school teacher and the author of the Camila the Star series of early chapter books about a young, Mexican American girl who explores her love of acting, singing, and dancing that is relatable to every kid, no matter their culture.

When she is not dreaming up new adventures to experience, she is turning her adventures into empowering stories for kids.

Music will fill the festival as Brian Richards takes the main stage. His creative take on storytelling combines magic, comedy, juggling, storytelling, puppets, and audience participation, captivating children and fostering excitement about reading!

In addition, attendees can partake in themed arts and crafts, writing and illustration workshops, peruse new and used book sales, and enjoy refreshments from a variety of food trucks. The festival also hosts a children’s bookmark contest, inviting attendees to vote for their favorites. Winners in each age bracket will receive a basket of age-appropriate books.

Local and regional authors are also welcome to reserve a table at the festival to connect with festivalgoers and promote their own books throughout the weekend. Interested authors can contact festival coordinator, Kerri Belardi, at kbelardi@thelearninglamp.org.

The festival receives support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts. PCA funding through the PA Partners in the Arts Program was distributed by regional partner Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Community support is critical to making this event accessible to children and families of all incomes. The Learning Lamp is seeking sponsors for 2024. Businesses interested in supporting childhood literacy are encouraged to reach out to Kathy Morrell about sponsorships at kmorrell@thelearninglamp.org.

For more information about the 15th Annual Children’s Book Festival, visit our website, thelearninglamp.org, or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/CBFJohnstown/.


The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high-quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2022, The Learning Lamp served 34,813 youth/adults from 61 public school districts and 70 other schools and organizations in 22 Pennsylvania counties.

Our programs include: child care and preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, school staffing, alternative education programs for at-risk students, online learning, credit recovery, drug and alcohol prevention programs, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

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