Sunday, April 15, 2012

Martha's Vineyard Children's Book Festival

Like to read? Shore you do!

The first annual
Martha’s Vineyard
Children’s Book Festival

It will give new meaning to “beach reading.”

20 award-winning, untanned authors and illustrators
6 schools
1 billion grains of sand
1 historic day…


Local Bookstore(s)
Corporate Contributor(s) *
Generous Patron(s)


TBD. But awesome ones.


Chapter 1—School Visit Round Robin

What it is: three back-to-back author presentations per school:

8:30 a.m. author 1
10:00 a.m. author 2
11:30 p.m. author 3
12:45 p.m. lunch with authors (perhaps a select group of writing-focused students who applied/were chosen in advance)

Chapter 2—Beach Book Bonanza

What it is: an open-to-the-public afternoon of book-themed fun on the beach, including continuous book signings and the following activities (with more possibilities below at **):

2:00 p.m. sand character building contest (forget sand castles—kids make a sand sculpture of their favorite children’s book character; authors are judges)
3:00 p.m. kids vs. authors beach volleyball
4:00 p.m. aerial photograph (kids positioned to spell out “I’m Needing Beach Reading” or similar)

Prizes for all winners (hint: prizes are not waterproof).
Advanced sign-up and parent on site required for all beach events.
Other spectators encouraged!
In event of rain, alternate yet equally fun activities and indoor location to be announced.

Chapter 3—Sunset Panels and Performances

What it is: family picnic on the beach while listening to humorous, helpful, and unpredictable author panel discussions moderated by Local Celeb TBD, followed by an unprecedented, all-author variety show:

5:30 p.m. author panel 1
6:00 p.m. author panel 2
6:30 p.m. author panel 3

Panels can be themed or random. Themes can be straightforward (Funny Picture Books, Real Life Thrills, Debut Authors) or silly (Bald or Balding Authors, Do Talking Animals Need Clothes?, Books in Space).

7:00 p.m. “America’s Got Authors”—the authors team up and perform skits and songs based on their books; warning: audience volunteers may be called on at random!
8:30 p.m. book signings
9:30 p.m. tuck authors in


What makes this book festival one-of-a-kind?

  • first-ever children’s book festival on Martha’s Vineyard
  • possibly first-ever book festival on a beach?
  • co-created by authors who have been to multiple festivals nationwide and have seen what works and what doesn’t
  • authors sign and speak as usual, but also have a more interactive role throughout the day—including opportunities to step outside their author roles
  • diverse schedule includes both enrichment for every public school on the island and programming for the public
  • unconventional events such as kids vs. authors volleyball and author variety show likely to attract mainstream press


* among the corporate sponsors to pursue:

Six Flags (they run a summer reading campaign)
Vineyard Vines
Whole Foods
Stonyfield Farm
Ben & Jerry’s (maybe they’d even make a special flavor for the occasion such as Kidlit Choclit or Bookberry Muffin, only far more clever)
Melissa & Doug
New England Patriots
Boston Red Sox
Read Kiddo Read
Life Is Good
Bright Horizons
BJ's Wholesale Club
Cape Cod Chips
Children’s Hospital Boston
Stride Rite
New Balance

Edutopia (a George Lucas company)
other literacy-minded companies, particularly ones based in MA

** other possible activities:

  • summer snowball fight (would require storing snowballs from winter in freezers and bringing them to beach in coolers; takes effort but huge payoff)
  • kids vs. authors tug of peace
  • print books vs. e-books reading race
  • dunk an author booth (for charity?)
  • shoreline scavenger hunt (find items related to the authors’ books)
  • summer-themed quiz bowl on children’s books
  • get photo taken in scenes from favorite books (those painted lifesized scenes with a hole where you stick your face); or maybe kids can design and paint their own?
  • something green, i.e. cleaning up a beach, but must also relate to books somehow

If you are a possible Corporate Contributor or Generous Patron who wants to be part of the next generation of book festivals, I look forward to hearing from you.


Robin said...

This sounds amazing! Will there be another one this summer on mv?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Robin - thanks! But there was never a first one! It is just an idea. If you have any connections...