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Children’s Book Festival Returns in 2022 with Powerhouse Lineup!

Posted on January 20, 2022

Johnstown, PA (Jan. 20, 2022) – The Learning Lamp’s premiere event, The Children’s Book Festival, is back to an in-person, activity-filled weekend on April 2 and 3, 2022 at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Avenue in Johnstown. The festival returns bigger and better as it plays host to a weekend stacked with award-winning children’s authors and illustrators, activities for children and families of all ages and backgrounds, and a spotlight on cultural diversity.

Join us the first weekend in April to hear from Eric Litwin, #1 New York Times best-selling author and musician who is best known for the original Pete the Cat series, as well as The Nuts and Groovy Joe. His books have sold over 13 million copies and have won 26 literary awards. One of three headlining authors throughout the weekend, Litwin merges literacy and music to help early learners as they enjoy The Learning Groove.

Joining Litwin is award-winning author and illustrator Don Tate, the founding host of The Brown Bookshelf – a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers. Tate is a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign created to address the lack of non-majority narratives in children’s literature. Tate models for all children, but especially children of color, the adventures of reading, writing, illustrating, and storytelling. Families will be able to meet Tate as he reads, conducts writing and illustration workshops, and signs copies of his books including Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters; Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions; and more!

Rounding out the lineup of headliners is best-seller Luke Flowers, who has illustrated more than 60 children’s books, including A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers. Flowers has most notably authored and illustrated the Moby Shinobi series with Scholastic, selling over 1 million copies since the first book was published five years ago, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth ABC Storybook.

If you enjoy a good rhyme, hugely popular multi-media performance artist Wes Tank will have your head bobbing as he raps zany rhymes of children’s literature over amazing hip-hop beats that both kids and parents love through StoryRaps on children’s streaming app Kidoodle.TV and YouTube. Throughout the two-day event, Wes will teach kids a magical form of storytelling that promises to be a blast!

Lastly, the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is happy to announce the return of internationally- renowned cartoonist Joe Wos of Pittsburgh to our lineup of artists. Wos started drawing mazes at the age of 7 and is regarded as a master maze maker. A fan favorite, Wos wows adults and children alike with real-time illustrations and storytelling.

In addition to this lineup of authors and illustrators, the festival will include themed arts and crafts activities, 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.

Celebrating its 13th year, 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 from the First Book national book bank. The Children’s Book Festival is supported, in part, by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts—one of 168 projects selected nationwide.

“These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.”

The festival was also supported, in part, 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, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

The Learning Lamp is seeking additional sponsors for 2022. 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 13th 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 2020, The Learning Lamp served 28,938 youth/adults from 51 public school districts and 36 other schools and organizations in 13 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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