What’s the perfect way to wrap up a week of wrangling children stuck inside? This Friday, March 20, kids are invited to the first in a series of free virtual Scholastic book festivals with some of their favorite authors! (You’ll have to add your own novelty-shaped, scented erasers.) This week, kids will get to ask R.L. Stine questions, play games and do a fun story writing exercise and, naturally, have a dance party. (Whether or not you relax on the couch with a glass of wine while this is all happening is entirely up to you.)
Starting at 3 p.m. ET, as part of our ongoing #OperationStorytime initiative, Romper will be joining our friends at Scholastic for the online festival featuring some of today’s most popular children’s book authors, like Claribel A. Ortega (Ghost Squad), Sarah Mlynowski (the Whatever After series), Sayantani DasGupta (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series), and the one and only R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame. Ah, now it’s really like the book fair you remember, right? (Dibs on the Magic Eye poster.)
The festival will take place on Home Base, a free, moderated (that means there’s an actual person there moderating the chat and ready to step in if something’s inappropriate), and safe online community for kids. You can access Home Base through a computer, or download the Apple app or Android app to join. You’ll be prompted to create an account, and from there you can join the Scholastic book festival.
“At Scholastic, our number one priority is supporting children as they learn and grow, whether that is in the classroom or at home,” shared Erin Berger, senior vice president of marketing at Scholastic. “Our Home Base community for kids has been a favorite of our readers for some time now, but this is the first time we’re throwing a virtual book festival! Since many live book events have been canceled, we wanted to give kids the same opportunity to engage with some beloved authors like R.L. Stine and to discover new favorites as well.”
Debut author Ortega says she’s super excited about getting out there to connect with readers. “Though some of my events were canceled, I'm thrilled at the chance to reach them in this creative way on Home Base,” she says. “And getting the chance to hobnob with one of my literary heroes, R.L. Stine? A dream come true!”
Stine will kick off the festival with a Q&A, and he’ll be joined by a special surprise guest star that is going to blow every '90s kid’s mind. (We don’t blame you if you want to join your kids for this part!) From there, the authors will appear, one after another, every half hour for activities with kids, like a map game challenge, a costume contest, and a story round robin. Finally, like all good book fairs, from 5 to 5:30 p.m., the fun will end with a dance party as the authors and players all get their groove on. It’s basically like ending a book fair visit with P.E., but a million times better. If only I could have square pizza and a carton of chocolate milk for lunch to round out the nostalgia.
But a word of warning from Stine… this might be… a little dangerous...
“I’m so happy to kick off this author festival,” Stine says in a message for prospective festivalgoers (aka your kids!). “What a great way to say hi to everyone! I know a lot of you are home and have extra time on your hands. I’d like to give you a little warning for while you are home. Whatever you do to fill the time, don’t read books. I’ll tell you why. Reading books can become a habit. Once you read one, you want to read another. And then another. Before you even know it, you’ll have developed a dangerous reading habit that’s really hard to break. So be very careful, okay? I hope you’ll remember my advice. And I hope you’ll remember that I’m the only author who told you not to read. (And maybe I was kidding.) Catch you later!”
Honestly, this is such a great way to let your kids have some fun during this quarantined time at home, and future book festivals will happen in the coming weeks. You can check out the Book Fest page at Scholastic to read the schedule of each book fair, too, as some might differ from previous festivals. (I would absolutely win at Goosebumps trivia, I just need to throw that out there.) Maybe it’ll inspire your kids to pick up a new book or start a new story while they’re home — or maybe it’ll just give you both two and a half hours of good, fun, quality time; either scenario is good. In a moment of life that feels a little scary and anxious, this Scholastic Book Festival promises to bring some much-needed comfort.
Visit scholastic.com/bookfest for all the details. See you there!