An impressive lineup of nationally known authors and illustrators is taking shape for the 2015 Virginia Children’s Books Festival this October, with Longwood University again hosting the event and this year playing an expanded role as host sponsor.

The second VCBF will bring thousands of children from across Virginia to campus this October 16-17. Among the speakers and presenters will be 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson, the 2015 Newbery Award winner, Kwame Alexander, several other Newbery honorees and multiple New York Times bestselling authors.

As host sponsor, Longwood is building on its relationship with the VCBF through financial support, collaboration on scheduling, access to university resources, the use of campus buildings and services, and growing involvement with faculty members.

"The Virginia Children’s Book Festival is a wonderful opportunity both to expand our outreach to the surrounding region and introduce children to literature," said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV. "Too many children are under-exposed to books at a young age and enter school far behind their peers. Longwood has a tremendous history making a positive impact on Virginia’s schoolchildren, and this partnership is a natural fit to carry on that history. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to bring thousands of people here to show off our beautiful campus."

Nestled in the heart of Virginia, Longwood is uniquely positioned to draw from three urban centers in the state as well as thousands of children from school systems across Southside Virginia that already have in place strong existing partnerships with Longwood.

"We are excited to be back on the Longwood campus for the second year of this growing festival," said Juanita Giles, festival director. "We are building on last year’s enormous success with the strong support of the university community. Longwood is truly the cultural center of Southside Virginia, and their reach into different facets of the community will give us ample opportunity to connect with children who are most at risk."

Several Longwood professors and employees sit on the VCBF board of directors and volunteer their expertise. Unique programming takes advantage of the strength of Longwood’s expertise in teacher preparation—from programs focusing on strategies for teachers to connect their students and books to parents of reluctant readers.

Longwood professors led several panel discussions during the inaugural festival, including a touching and in-depth look at civil rights in education at the Moton Museum—a conversation that ranged from the civil rights movement to issues of diversity in children’s literature today. Others included workshops on introducing young readers to literature through graphic novels and comic books, and exploring issues of gender in young adult novels.

"This festival is a great opportunity to highlight our expertise in children’s literature and connect with students in a substantial way," said Wade Edwards, chair of the department of English and modern languages. "Longwood students also gain exposure to some of the nation’s top children’s authors and engage in meaningful dialogue on important topics in the field. So many people—from college students and professors to parents and young readers—will find this festival rewarding."

About the 2015 Virginia Children’s Book Festival

The Virginia Children’s Book festival is a two-day event each fall that celebrates and encourages reading by youth of all ages by inviting children and teens from across Virginia to meet, learn and explore with some of the most popular and acclaimed authors from across the country. The VCBF began in 2014 and drew hundreds of children and book lovers from across the state. The event is held on the picturesque campus of Longwood University, a liberal arts institution in Farmville, the heart of Virginia, and one of the hundred oldest colleges in the U.S. Already one of the premiere literary events in the commonwealth, the VCBF continues to grow and inspire children of all ages.

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