MinNesota Children's Book Festival

The Anderson Center is happy to announce that the annual Minnesota Children's Book Festival will continue in 2022, featuring presentations of new books by award-winning children's & young adult authors and illustrators.

Last year's event included: Molly Beth Griffin, Denise Lajimodiere, David LaRochelle, Mélina Mangal, Magdalena Mora, Jacqueline West, Mike Wohnoutka, and Kao Kalia Yang. This year's event will again be hosted 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.

Last year's titles presented 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 and illustrator presented their work, read from their book, and participated in a meet & greet and book signing booth. Taking place outdoors, the event also featured Henna by Kayley, stilting by Barebones, tours to the top of the Anderson Center's landmark water tower, artmaking activities, bookmaking with ArtReach, Dr. Bob's puppet theater, balloon animals by David Olson, a Field Recording Workshop with Zain Alam, and food by Warm Toasties Food Truck & The Granary of Stockholm. 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.

Last Year's featured book titles


Molly Beth Griffin

    For her third picture, Ten Beautiful Things (Charlesbridge, 2021) author Molly Beth Griffin offers a heartfelt story of changing perspectives, set in the Midwest. Lily and her grandmother search for ten beautiful things as they take a long car ride to Iowa and Lily’s new home with Gram. Ten Beautiful Things leaves the exact cause of Lily’s move ambiguous, making it perfect for anyone helping a child navigate change, whether it be the loss of a parent, entering or leaving a foster home, or moving. Recommended for kids ages 5 – 8.



    Denise Lajimodiere

      In Josie Dances (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2021) by poet Denise Lajimodiere, an Ojibwe girl practices her dance steps, gets help from her family, and is inspired by the soaring flight of Migizi, the eagle, as she prepares for her first powwow. This resonant modern-day Native narrative highlights the warmth of one girl’s family, the pride of traditions, and the beauty of finding a place in the world, themes as contemporary as they are ancient. Recommended for kids age 3 – 7.



      David LaRochelle
      & Mike Wohnoutka

        They’re back!. With How to Apologize (Candlewick Press, 2021) author David LaRochelle and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka, winners of the American Library Association’s Geisel Award for Fiction, offer funny, but useful and gentle, lessons for kids who want to make things right when things go wrong. With applicability well beyond its reading level, How to Apologize is a welcome reminder that even though apologizing can be hard, it doesn't have to be complicated. Recommended for kids age 4 - 8.



        Mélina Mangal

          Author Mélina Mangal's writing highlights youth whose voices are rarely heard, and the people and places that inspire them to explore their world. Timeless and vibrant, Jayden's Impossible Garden (Free Spirit Publishing, 2021) highlights the beauty of intergenerational relationships and the power of imagination and perseverance in bringing the vision of a community garden to life. Jayden’s love of nature will inspire readers to see their environment and surroundings as bursting with opportunities for growth and connection. Recommended for kids age 4 – 9.



          Magdalena Mora

            Magdalena Mora's soft, mixed-media illustrations in I Wish Wish You Knew (Roaring Brook Press - Macmillan, 2021) reflect a diverse and dynamic classroom and sympathetically portray many of the challenges faced by children. Written by Jackie Azúa Kramer, I Wish You Knew tells the story of Estrella, a young girl whose father was not born in the United States as she was. During the school year, he has to return to his home country and Estrella is left to deal with his absence. This mediation on social and emotional communication will prompt readers, old and young, to open up about their vulnerabilities. Recommended for kids ages 4 – 7.



            Jacqueline West

              New York Times-bestselling author Jacqueline West's Long Lost (Greenwillow Books - HarperCollins, 2021) is a spooky middle grade love letter to libraries and the mystery genre. Brimming with suspense, the book offers a captivating narrative that draws the reader into two stories of two sisters living over a century apart. With Long Lost, West, who resides in Red Wing, weaves a heart-pounding and imaginative mystery centered on the strong and often tumultuous bond between sisters. Recommended for readers ages 8 – 12.



              Kao Kalia Yang

                Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, The Most Beautiful Thing (Carolrhoda Books - Lerner, 2020) portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia's story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family's early years in the United States. A deep and moving reflection on enduring hardship and generational love, The Most Beautiful Thing offers poignant storytelling with stunning visuals. Recommended for kids ages 5 – 9.

                Carolrhoda is also publishing Kao Kalia Yang's next picture book, From the Tops of the Trees, in October 2021.



                The 2021 Minnesota Children’s Book Festival was generously sponsored by Arnold Orthodontics, Curly's Welding, Fair Trade Books, First State Bank of Red Wing, First Farmers & Merchants Bank, Hanson Family Foundation, Jones Family Foundation, Lerner Publishing Group, Liberty's Restaurant & Lounge, Mayo Health System - Red Wing, Merchants Bank, Munson Electric, Musty-Barnhart Agency, Red Wing Brewery, Ripley's Rental & Sales, Sargent's Nursery, Siewert's Towing & Garage, Smith Schafer & Associates, Sturdiwheat, 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.