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Children’s Book Festival Celebrates Reading and the Arts

Posted on January 26, 2023

Johnstown, PA (Jan. 23, 2023)The Learning Lamp and 1st Summit Bank present the Children’s Book Festival that returns for a fun-filled weekend on April 15 and 16, 2023 at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Avenue in Johnstown. The festival plays host to a weekend stacked with award-winning children’s authors and illustrators, as well as activities and entertainment for children and families of all ages and backgrounds.

Join us in April to hear from Bruce Hale, an award-winning author and illustrator who is passionate about inspiring reluctant readers to open books—and actually read them! Hale has written and/or illustrated over 70 funny books for children, ranging from picture books like the Clark the Shark series and Snoring Beauty, to middle-grade series like Chet Gecko Mysteries, Class Pets, and the Monstertown Mysteries.

We’re celebrating the 14th year of the festival with the theme Bedtime Stories. Children are encouraged to attend the festival dressed in their favorite pajamas. 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. And every child who comes to the Book Festival walks away with a free book thanks to The Learning Lamp’s partnership with the First Book National Book Bank.

In addition to Hale’s presentation, the festival will feature other nationally and regionally known authors/illustrators like Janet Tashjian, author of many best-selling middle-grade books, including the My Life as a Book, Einstein the Class Hamster, and Sticker Girl. Accompanying Janet will be her son, Jake, who illustrated Einstein the Class Hamster, and the My Life as a Book series that focuses on teaching kids with reading disabilities vocabulary words in a fun and entertaining way. 

Rounding out the lineup is Keith Graves, award-winning author and illustrator of many hilarious picture books for children. Graves’ titles include: Chicken Big, Frank was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, Puppy!, The Monsterator, and many more. Keith’s epic middle-grade novel, The Orphan from Awkward Falls, is a spooky tale that is funny and loaded with creepy illustrations. Keith is also co-president of an animation studio called Graverobber Productions. Graverobber is busy making a cartoon version of Chicken Big, among other things. 

Music will fill the festival as Mr. Boom Boom of Music Play Patrol takes the main stage. His musical take on storytelling through the beat of a drum will have both kids and parents drumming, clapping, and dancing along. Throughout the two-day event, Mr. Boom Boom will teach kids a musical form of storytelling that promises to be a blast!

In addition, the festival will include themed arts and crafts, writing and illustration workshops, new and used book sales, refreshments, and a children’s bookmark contest. Festivalgoers are invited to vote for their favorites, and winners in each age bracket will receive a basket full of age-appropriate books.

The Learning Lamp is also proud to announce that the Children’s Book Festival is supported, in part, by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

“Grants like this show the NEA’s support nationwide for strengthening our arts and cultural ecosystems, providing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contributing to the health of our communities and our economy,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson.

The festival was also supported by 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 Partnerships RC&D.

The Learning Lamp is seeking additional sponsors for 2023. Community support is critical to making this event accessible to children and families of all incomes. The festival also wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Festival Coordinator Kerri Belardi at kbelardi@thelearninglamp.org. For more information about the 14th Annual Children’s Book Festival, visit our website, thelearninglamp.org or visit 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 2021, The Learning Lamp served 28,160 youth/adults from 51 school districts and 69 other schools and organizations in 19 Pennsylvania counties. Our programs include: child care and preschool, after school programs, tutoring, SAT prep, online learning, credit recovery, alternative education and specialized classrooms for at-risk students, trauma support groups for children/families, temporary staffing, and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

The latest on Instagram:

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  • @thelearninglamp:Summer planning just got a whole lot easier for child care and other youth-serving programs in Pennsylvania thanks to Best Day Ever! The ready-made, child and teacher-tested resource offers 24 free summer camp lesson plans for preschool and school-aged children. Find out more at https://lnkd.in/eDtxciDZ.
  • @thelearninglamp:The Employee Spotlight this week features Laura Strauch, a Preschool Teacher for The Learning Lamp’s child care center at Highlands Hospital in Connellsville. Laura has been working in childcare for almost 15 years, so it was a natural fit when she joined The Learning Lamp in June 2022. “I have had the opportunity to create my dream classroom that is a fun, yet educational atmosphere,” said Strauch. “Every day I learn something new about myself and how I can best teach each child in my care.” She is also adamant about passing on the knowledge she has learned to younger childcare workers at her center. “I recently finished my training to be a coach for the pre-apprenticeship program, and I’m very excited to be a part of it,” said Strauch. “I hope that sharing my experiences will benefit others! Thank you, Laura, for your dedication to child care and the children we serve! #employeespotlight #ouremployeesareawesome #awesomeemployees #greatemployees
  • @thelearninglamp:YOU can make a difference when you work with students as a Personal Care Aide in the classroom setting. Ignite Education Solutions is hiring now Personal Care Aides for the high school in the Westmont area. This position offers a flexible schedule -- when school is off, so are you, advancement opportunities, training, and more! Qualified candidates must have a high school diploma and the ability to pass required clearances. Apply today! https://thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/929239-92234.html

From Facebook:

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No nights or weekends, and holidays off! We're hiring a part-time Preschool Aide to work in the Claysburg area. Build a career with an organization that offers room to grow! Successful candidate must have a high school diploma and 2 years of experience (this can include volunteer work, babysitting children other than your own, and more - just ask us!). Apply online today at thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/948217-92234.html.

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3 hours ago
No nights or weekends, and holidays off! Were hiring a part-time Preschool Aide to work in the Claysburg area. Build a career with an organization that offers room to grow! Successful candidate must have a high school diploma and 2 years of experience (this can include volunteer work, babysitting children other than your own, and more - just ask us!). Apply online today at https://thelearninglamp.workbrightats.com/jobs/948217-92234.html.

#helpwanted #workwithkids #childcare #childcarejobs #jobseekers #nowhiring