To go on a really great adventure this summer, some might argue that all you have to do is open the pages of a book. A well-written tome can send its readers to a ship at sail on the Pacific Ocean, to the cool dank pathways of an ancient forest or to a distant planet many moons away. Since book lovers often beget little book lovers, Atlanta parents may be very pleased to learn that there are a number of special local literary-inspired events designed just for kids throughout the summer months.
Decatur Book Festival
Historic Downtown Decatur Square
From August 30 through September 1, the Decatur Book Festival features three days jam-packed with book signings, author readings, an interactive children’s area, live music, parade, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams and more – all designed to celebrate a love of literature. It’s a terrific event and the largest independent book festival in the country. Stop by for a great way to spend a not-so-lazy summer day with the family.
1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30310
In addition to its extremely awesome responsibility of preserving the home and legacy of Joel Chandler Harris – renowned author of the beloved Uncle Remus folktales – the Wren’s Nest passes down a love of literature to virtually every child who attends one of its Storytelling Saturday events, hosted every Saturday at 1 p.m. Children of all ages are welcome to walk the halls where Brer Rabbit once hopped, then set a spell and enjoy the yarns that are creatively spun right before their eyes. Admission for walk-in tours is $5 for children, $7 for students and seniors and $8 for adults.
Center For Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309
This summer’s performance series features beloved children’s stories, with a few “strings attached.” “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs” showcases a fractured fairytale retold from the Big Bad Wolf’s perspective (playing now through June 9), “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat” features the classic tale through the use of rod puppets and animation (playing June 13-July 28) and “Rumpelstiltskin” brings the age-old fairytale to life through marionettes. After each performance, show attendees are invited back to the workshop to make a puppet from the story. Puppet shows are an excellent way to introduce a love of literature to young children. For a little added fun, parents are encouraged to read the stories to their children either before or after the performance and discuss the differences.
Little Shop Of Stories
133A E. Court Square, #A
Decatur, GA 300030
In addition to row after row of award-winning children’s books, this quaint little shop in the heart of Decatur plays host to a number of great reading opportunities for children of all ages. Kids and Companions is a book group for children aged eight to 11 and the grown-up of their choosing and Page Turners is a book group designed specifically for girls in sixth through eighth grade. Interested bookworms should check the website regularly for featured books and meeting dates/times. Beyond book clubs, Little Shop of Stories also provides a number of literary-themed and exceedingly popular summer camps, including The Magic Tree House Camp, Comics Camp, Heroes and Villains Camp, Sons of Olympus Camp, American Girl Camp, Goody for Girls Camp and Camp Hogwarts. Due to the wild popularity of these camps and because only a limited number of campers can be accepted, 2013 camps have already been filled and waiting lists have begun forming. Interested parents may want to place their little lit fan on a waiting list and get a jump on 2014 camps.
Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System Events
Atlanta Fulton Public Library System
1 Margaret Mitchell Square
Atlanta, GA 30303
In keeping with an excellent library system, the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library System will play host to a jam-packed calendar of events over the summer for kids of all ages. From Summer Reading Kick Off Parties and Family Fun Storytimes to puppet shows and children’s book author readings, there will be no shortage of literary events at the local Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library. The same holds true for Library Systems in Gwinnett, Dekalb, Forsyth, Hall and Cobb Counties, and beyond.
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Kasie Bolling is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.