Saturday, September 16, 2023

The Anderson Center at Tower View is pleased to present the 24th annual Minnesota Children's Book Festival on Saturday, September 16, 2023, featuring presentations of new books by award-winning children's & young adult authors and illustrators. Taking place at the Anderson Center’s beautiful, historic Tower View campus, the Children's Book Festival is an ideal opportunity for families to connect, learn and play.

This year's titles present various narratives around the natural world, skill-building, and diverse perspectives that help kids, as well as their adults, understand each other and the world around them. Throughout the afternoon, each author or illustrator presents their work, reads from their book, and participates in a meet & greet and book signing booth. Taking place outdoors, the event also features Face-Painting by Sheila, stilting, tours to the top of the Anderson Center's landmark water tower, activities & literature from the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, bookmaking with ArtReach, table tennis, a hands-on activity by Goodhue County Historical Society, balloon animals by Heather Olson, Los Padrinos Food Truck and the Warm Toasties Food Truck. All ages are welcome!

Emphasizing the joy of learning through reading and arts activities, the Minnesota Children’s Book Festival has received national acclaim for its efforts to promote literacy among young people.

Red Balloon Bookshop is the official bookseller of the 2023 Minnesota Children's Book Festival.

2022 featured book titles

Presentation Schedule

Click or hover here to learn when authors & illustrators are presenting each featured book.

Presentation Schedule

12:25 p.m. Stephen Shaskan
  1:00 p.m. Anika Fajardo
  1:45 p.m. Where We Come From
  2:45 p.m. Lauren Stringer
  3:20 p.m. Phyllis Root
  4:00 p.m. Erin Soderberg Downing

Book Signing Schedule

Click or hover here to learn when authors & illustrators are signing their books.

Book Signing Schedule

12:10 AND 1:05 p.m. Stephen Shaskan
  12:20 AND 1:35 p.m. Anika Fajardo
  1:20 AND 2:35 p.m. Where We Come From
  2:15 AND 3:20 p.m. Lauren Stringer
  2:45 AND 3:55 p.m. Phyllis Root
  3:20 AND 4:35 p.m. Erin Soderberg Downing


John Coy
Shannon Gibney
Sun Yung Shin
Diane Wilson

    In Where We Come From, (Carolrhoda, 2022) four authors tell their stories, not just of the places they lived, but of the history, culture, and spirit of their beings: where they truly come from. John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and Diane Wilson each represent a diverse array of experiences (Wilson is Dakota, Shin is Korean American, Gibney is Black and Irish American, and Coy is Irish and Scottish American), and in the book they take turns describing places, folklore, history, and personal memories that range from painful to joyous. Where We Come From forms a warm and inclusive view of humanity and a sense of the rich tapestry that is America. Recommended for kids ages 5 – 10.

    • Presentation: 1:45 p.m.
    • Signing: 1:20 - 1:30 p.m. AND  2:35 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


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    Erin Soderberg Downing

      The Great Peach Experiment 2: The Peach Pit (Pixel+Ink, 2022) by Erin Soderberg Downing is a hilarious and heartwarming middle grade novel bursting with charm and hope. Told in third-person narration from a different child’s viewpoint in each chapter, this story sees the Peach family returning for a mission to turn a crumbling mansion into a cozy bed-and-breakfast. In the process they work to figure out their new normal. Combining humor, heartache, a little mystery, and a lot of love, The Peach Pit is another incredible read. Recommended for kids ages 8 – 12.

      • Presentation: 4 p.m.
      • Signing: 3:20 - 3:50 p.m. AND 4:35 - 5:00 p.m.


      Buy From Red Balloon Bookshop

      Anika Fajardo

        In Meet Me Halfway (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022), Anika Fajardo weaves a clever and tender tale of long-lost sisters. When new classmates Mattie and Mercedes meet and realize they have the same Colombian dad, the two team up in a Parent Trap–inspired misadventure to meet him for the first time in this sharp and poignant middle grade novel about the bonds that make a family. A perfectly delightful story with a huge heart, Meet Me Halfway celebrates unconventional families and shows us that there’s nothing you can’t handle if you have a sister by your side. Recommended for kids ages 8 - 12.

        • Presentation: 1 p.m.
        • Signing: 12:20 - 12:50 p.m AND 1:35 - 2:15 p.m.


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        PHYLLIS ROot

          Celia Planted a Garden: The Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island Garden (Candlewick Press, 2022) by Phyllis Root and Gary D. Schmidt is lyrical picture-book biography about a writer and master gardener who created beauty in a harsh island habitat that was visited by literary and artistic luminaries of her time. Vivid nature writing infuses this picture book biography of New England artist and poet Celia Thaxter (1835–1894). A splendid introduction to a lesser-known nature poet and the landscapes that inspired her, Elementary school-aged readers will enjoy learning about a colorful and creative woman through this work. Recommended for kids ages 5 – 9.

          • Presentation: 3:20 p.m.
          • Signing: 2:45 - 3:10 p.m. AND 3:55 - 4:30 p.m.


          Buy From Red Balloon Bookshop

          Lauren Stringer

            The Dark Was Done (Beach Lane Books, 2022) by Laren Stringer is a poignant picture book about finding wonder in the nighttime that teaches little ones about overcoming fears and appreciating the beauty in all things—even the dark. Everyone was afraid of the Dark and pushed it away, wishing the Dark would leave. So one day, the Dark left and did not return. The Dark was done. The visual pop between the velvety blue-black darkness and the canary yellow of daytime is one of the finer aspects of this gentle lesson in facing fears. Child readers with their own qualms about nighttime may find comfort in a Dark that hugs, smiles, and enfolds owls, stars, and flowers. Recommended for kids ages 4 – 8.

            • Presentation: 2:45 p.m.
            • Signing: 2:15 - 2:35 p.m. AND 3:20 - 3:50 p.m.


            Buy From Red Balloon Bookshop

            Stephen ShaskAn

              New backpacks? Check! Besties Pizza and Taco are ready to head back to school, but are they ready to meet the cool new kid? Pizza and Taco: Too Cool For School (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2022), is a hilarious young graphic novel--with chapters--that will tickle funny bones of kids and bolster their reading confidence. Author Stephen Shaskan believes that young graphic chapter books are a great step on the way to graphic novels and longer chapter books. Recommended for kids ages 5 - 8.

              • Presentation: 12:25 p.m.
              • Signing: 12:10 - 12:20 & 1:05 - 1:50 p.m.


              Buy From Red Balloon Bookshop

              The 2022 Minnesota Children’s Book Festival is generously sponsored by Arnold Orthodontics, Curly's Welding, First State Bank of Red Wing, First Farmers & Merchants Bank, Hanson Family Foundation, Jones Family Foundation, Lerner Publishing Group, Merchants Bank, Munson Electric, Musty-Barnhart Agency, Red Balloon Bookshop, Ripley's Rental & Sales, Sargent's Nursery, Siewert's Towing & Garage, Smith Schafer & Associates, Sturdiwheat, West End Liquor, Wilson Oil Company, and Xcel Energy Foundation.

              This event is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.