Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 36
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
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Weather Forecast

Goosebumps and Darwin: Library Set for Annual Children’s Book Festival, Sept. 11

Dilshanie Perera

“It would never dare to rain on Book Festival Day,” exclaimed Youth Services Librarian Allison Santos with the assurance of someone who has been running this particularly successful Princeton Public Library program for the past five years. On the outside chance that it does rain, she’s not worried: the event, which will take place this Saturday, September 11 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Hinds Plaza, will be organized into three tents.

Children’s favorite R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Nightmare Room series, is this year’s featured attraction. “He’s the sweetest guy,” said Ms. Santos of Mr. Stine, who will be reading from his new Horrorland series and autographing books. “He’s so personable and fun.”

More than 50 other nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult books will also be meeting their fans, discussing their work, and signing books on Saturday.

Deborah Heiligman will be on hand in the Blue Tent to talk about Charles and Emma, her award-winning biography of Charles Darwin with a particular focus on his marriage to his cousin, Emma Wedgewood. “Embracing the paradoxes in her subjects’ personalities, the author unfolds a sympathetic and illuminating account,” said a starred review in Publishers Weekly, noting that it is “bolstered by quotations from their personal writings as well as significant research into the historical context.”

Erica Perl, Wendy Mass, Carolyn MacCullough, Leslie Margolis, Amy Ignatow, Matt de la Pena, and West Windsor-Plainsboro school teacher Bob Krech are among the other Young Adult authors participating in the festival.

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Roxie Munro, Lisa Graff, Tony Abbott, Charles Micucci, Diane Muldrow, Ellen Weiss and local resident Margery Cuyler are just a few of the children’s book author/illustrators who will be showing up under the Red, Blue, and Yellow Tents. Illustrators are expected to bring samples of art work from their various books, and kids’ take-aways will include bracelets, bands, and craft projects done on-site.

Ms. Santos explained that because there are so many authors coming for a single day’s event, she had to resort to “a random winner generator” to select the 28 authors who will make more formal presentations.

Books will be available for purchase through a Barnes and Noble’s satellite book store located in the library’s Community Room, and Yosi (“Lively children’s sing-alongs!”) and Philadelphia-based entertainer Kenn Kweder will be performing live throughout the afternoon.

“Each year it gets bigger and bigger,” enthused Ms. Santos. “This is going to be the best one yet!”

For more information on the Book Festival, visit

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