Children's Book Festival

Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 11:00am to 4:00pm

The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is an action-packed weekend featuring notable children’s authors and illustrators. The 2020 festival boasts a powerhouse lineup of talent and offers a variety of activities for children and families of all ages and backgrounds with a spotlight on cultural diversity.

Join us in April as The Learning Lamp welcomes Don Tate, the award-winning illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children including No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas; Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions; The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch; Hope’s Gift; and many others to the 2020 Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown. 

Tate is also an award-winning author. Some of his books for children include: Strong As Sandow; How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth; Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton; and It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw.

Don is a founding host of The Brown Bookshelf– a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers; and a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature.

The Children’s Book Festival will be held April 4 & 5, 2020 at the Bottle Works at 411 Third Avenue in Johnstown.Families will be able to meet Tate as he presents, reads to children, conducts writing and illustration workshops, and signs copies of his books.Celebrating its twelfth year with a theme of The ART of the Story, the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown aims to provide children in grades PreK – 6 in 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. 

In addition to Tate’s presentation, the festival will feature other nationally and regionally known authors/illustrators such as Jenn Harney, who has been working in and around children’s literature for the past 20 years. Harney is theauthor/illustrator of Underwear! and Swim Swim Sink. Her illustrations are regularly featured in Highlights for Children magazine. She also illustrated Never Trumpet with a Crumpet by Amy Gibson, the Hazy Bloom chapter book series by Jennifer Hamburg, as well as the forthcoming picture books Probably a Narwhal by Shelley Moore Thomas, Smelly Kelly by Beth Anderson, and the Wanda Seasongood chapter book series by Susan Lurie. Harney will read to children, host workshops, and sign copies of her books throughout the weekend.

Another featured author is Keith Graves – author/illustrator of many hilarious picture books for children. Graves’ picture book titles include: Chicken Big, The Monsterator, Puppy!, Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, Second Banana, and many more. Keith’s epic middle-grade novel, The Orphan of Awkward Falls is 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.

Graves will be joined by another headliner, Daniel Jude Miller, a man with a passion for creating odd and interesting characters. Miller’s books include Monsters in Manhattan, Monsters in Manhattan 2, Everybody Wake Up!!, Halloween Boy and the Christmas Kid, Bruce the Spruce, and Earclaw and Eddie.

In addition to this lineup of talented authors and illustrators, the festival will include themed arts and crafts activities, writing and illustration workshops, new and used book sales, refreshments, and hundreds of entries in our annual bookmark contest. Festivalgoers are invited to vote for their favorites, and winners of each age bracket receive a basket full of age-appropriate books.

The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is supported, in part, by an award from the Nora Roberts Foundation. The Learning Lamp also received state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and its regional partner the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance. The Learning Lamp is seeking additional sponsors for 2020. 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 [email protected]. For more information about the 12th Annual Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown, visit our website, or visit us on Facebook at

411 Third Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15906
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The Learning Lamp
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