- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 23, 2006

Clifford the Big Red Dog will be there. So will thriller writers Brad Meltzer and Scott Turow and nearly 70 more authors.

The 2006 National Book Festival will have something for everyone who loves to read. It is a chance to meet favorite authors, hear them speak about their works and the writing process and get a book signed.

Organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, the festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the Mall. About 100,000 visitors attended the event last year, and at least that many are expected this time, says John Cole, director of the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book and an organizer of the event.

“We’ve got a good, strong lineup of authors for all ages,” he says. “It really does encourage bringing readers together with their favorite authors. It is really unique to be with them face to face for 30 minutes.”

The festival pavilions are divided by genre. Among them will be pavilions for fiction and fantasy, mysteries and thrillers, history and biography, and teens and children. A pavilion also will be dedicated to selling books written by the visiting authors.

Among the authors scheduled to appear: Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner” (Fiction and Fantasy Pavilion, 10:40 a.m.); Georgetown University professor Deborah Tannen, author of “You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation” (Home and Family Pavilion, 10 a.m.); Andrew Clements, author of the popular children’s book “Frindle” (Teens and Children Pavilion, 10 a.m.); and John Grogan, author of the bestseller “Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog” (Home and Family Pavilion, 1:20 p.m.).

The Let’s Read America Pavilion will feature a number of family-friendly activities. More than a dozen PBS children’s TV characters will be there, and children can get a free Polaroid picture taken with their favorite PBS stars.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cole says the Library of Congress Pavilion will offer more interactive activities, highlighting the importance of lifelong literacy. At the Kids’ Zone portion of the tent, children can create digital art and think about which great texts they may want to preserve for future generations.

The Library of Congress Pavilion also will feature an exhibit from the library’s Veterans History Project (VHP). The VHP is a growing collection of oral histories, memoirs, photos and letters submitted by veterans and their families. Veterans can record their wartime stories here. There also will be several appearances by authors of books about their war experiences.

At the Pavilion of the States, the literacy of all 50 states will be highlighted, and authors hailing from those states will drop by, Mr. Cole says. Visitors can get a Discover Great Places Through Reading map, then present the map at state tables to get a sticker and learn more about books set in that state.

Winners of the national Letters About Literature contest will read their letters at the Teens and Children Pavilion. That contest invited youngsters in grades four through 12 to write letters to their favorite authors, past or present, telling each how the author’s work changed their lives. Six national winners were chosen.

When you go:

Location: The 2006 National Book Festival will be held on the Mall between Seventh and 14th Streets Northwest.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, rain or shine.

Admission: Free

Parking: Limited metered parking is available. The nearest Metro stop is the Smithsonian station on the Orange and Blue Lines.

More information: 888/714-4696 or www.loc.gov/bookfest

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