Atlanta Life and Culture

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Updated: What AJC Decatur Book Festival has in store for children, teens

The AJC Decatur Book Festival always has busy children’s and teen stages, and the 10th annual event planned Friday through Sunday holds to that trend.

“Skippyjon Jones” author Judy Schachner gets things rolling with the free Kidnote talk at 5 p.m. Friday at Decatur High School’s Performing Arts Center (310 N. McDonough St.). Schachner will be launching a picture book, “Dewey Bob,” about a sweet raccoon in search of a friend.

Kidnote tickets are limited to four per person and may be obtained at Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Books, Little Shop of Stories and Tall Tales Books.

The festival proper will kick off Saturday with a children’s parade from the Decatur Square led by “The Day the Crayons Quit” author Drew Daywalt. Participants are invited to dress as their favorite color from the crayon box. The parade will lead to the gym at the Decatur Recreation Center (231 Sycamore St.), the new home of the Children’s Stage. At 10 a.m., Daywalt will talk about his sequel, “The Day the Crayons Came Home.”

On Sunday, a second children’s parade, also from the square to the Rec Center, will be led by “Fancy Nancy” co-creators Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser. Participants are encouraged to dress their fanciest. Actors from Synchronicity Theatre’s fall presentation of “Fancy Nancy: The Musical” will join them.

Parade participants should gather at the Community Bandstand on the square before the start of each: Saturday’s steps off at 9:30 a.m.; Sunday’s at 11:30 a.m.

Featured writers on the Children’s Stage will include Adam Gidwitz, with “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi?” and “The Darkest Minds” series author Alexandra Bracken (1:45 p.m. Saturday); “Penderwicks in Spring” author Jeanne Birdsall, “The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate” author Jacqueline Kelly and “Switch” author Ingrid Law in a “Power of Family” session (2:30 p.m. Saturday); “Chasing Secrets” writer Gennifer Choldenko among authors in an “Adventures in History” session (4:30 p.m. Sunday); and “Space Dumplins” graphic novelist Craig Thompson and “Crogan Adventures” graphic novelist Chris Schweizer in a “Creeps and Creatures” session (5:15 p.m. Sunday).

Two popular young adult (YA) authors will anchor the Teen Stage, located on the MARTA Plaza. Sarah Dessen opens Saturday with a conversation about “Saint Anything,” her newest novel (10 a.m.); and on Sunday, Libba Bray shares “Lair of Dreams,” her follow-up to “The Diviners” (noon).

Also noteworthy, graphic novelist and real-life roller derby competitor Victoria Jamieson will share her debut novel, “Roller Girl,” and will be joined onstage by members of the Atlanta Derby Brats of the Atlanta Junior Roller Derby League (noon Saturday).

The teen events will conclude Sunday with a game of Truth or Dare with popular YA authors as contestants (4 p.m.); and the Teen Poetry Slam, a collaboration among a trio of nonprofit groups dedicated to promoting writing on behalf of kids — Verbalyze, Vox Teen Communications and the Wren’s Nest (5 p.m.).

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.