Suggested Festival Programs for Young Readers


Whether you’re bringing your bookworm kid or your voracious teen reader, this year’s Festival programs are sure to entice. The line-up features programs designed for young readers of all ages—kindergartners, middle-schoolers, and adolescents alike.

Two different panels of acclaimed YA authors will discuss topics including mental health, race, LGBTQ identities, romance, and religion. Meanwhile, younger readers are invited to enjoy tales (and songs!) of fast-paced adventure, uproarious friendship, and traditional folklore. Keep reading for some highlights in our 2020 programming for young readers…

Find Yourself: Identity and Mental Health in YA Lit
Sat. March 21, 10:00 AM-11:30 AM at the Village School
Authors Laura Lee Gulledge (The Dark Matter of Mona Starr), Maria Padian (How to Build a Heart), and Morgan Parker (Who Put This Song On?) haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a teen. Their books evoke all the complexities of young adulthood with empathy and truth. Together, they’ll discuss how their characters navigate mental health issues, come to terms with identity, and grapple with emerging sociopolitical awareness.

Adventures in the Middle: Fiction for Middle-Grade Readers
Sat. March 21, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM at the Village School
Chapter book lovers unite! Bring your middle-grade reader to hear Lamar Giles (The Last Last-Day-of-Summer), Jo Watson Hackl (Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe), and Frank Morelli (Please Return to: Norbert M. Finkelstein) discuss their hilarious, action-and-fantasy-packed novels.

Graphic Novels for All Ages
Sat. March 21, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM in the V. Earl Dickinson Building, Piedmont VA Community College
Sponsored by the CFA Institute
Laura Lee Gulledge (The Dark Matter of Mona Starr), Debbie Levy (Becoming RBG), and Wendy Xu (Mooncakes) discuss their multi-genre graphic novels for young readers and adults, and how they approach telling personal and fantastical stories.

Love and Other Tough Topics in YA Lit
Sat. March 21, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM at the Village School
Lamar Giles (Not So Pure and Simple), NoNieqa Ramos (The Truth Is), and Brynne Rebele-Henry (Orpheus Girl) discuss themes of sexuality, romance, family, and gender in their sensitive and relevant coming-of-age novels.

The Life and Music of Flory Jagoda
Sun. March 22, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM at Congregation Beth Israel
Author Debbie Levy (The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music) and musician Susan Gaeta celebrate the life and music of beloved Sephardic musician and immigrant Flory Jagoda. Levy will read from and discuss her children’s picture book about Jagoda, and Gaeta will perform selected pieces written by the singer-songwriter.

Explore additional programming for young readers in the 2020 Festival schedule by clicking here.