April 26


It’s Time for a #VirtualFieldTrip to the Everywhere Book Fest! by Anna E. Jordan

There were plenty of things about field trips in the “before times” that were difficult. Budgets for busses were minimal, permissions slips never came back, charging for events magnified inequities between students, and chaperones were often hard to find. Even so, we know that authentic experiences with experts inspire children and give classroom learning context. Our class discussions after the field trips were energized and as a teacher, I loved letting someone else take the lead so I could learn new ways to present subject matter I thought I knew backward and forwards.

Young readers have an exciting opportunity for a #virtualfieldtrip to visit the Everywhere Book Fest on May 1st and May 2nd.

Author visits, either IRL or via Skype, create a new joy for student reading and writing. The Everywhere Book Fest is an author visit times one thousand! Where else can you find three Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature (Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, Gene Luen Yang) and SO many diverse ALA Youth Media Award winners in one place. And that one place is your students’ homes!

The Everywhere Book Fest is the ideal book field trip for kids. Fun and dynamic speakers and panels will be available via the Everywhere Book Fest website and YouTube channel, some prerecorded and some live. Are you looking for a Picture Book Draw-off with well-known illustrators? An inspirational talk from Newbery Award medalist Meg Medina about persevering through tough times? A historical fiction panel that asks students what stories they will tell in the future? A no hold barred debate about YA fantasy tropes? A plot on the spot improvisation with some of the best-known middle-grade writers on the planet? The Everywhere Book Fest has it all.

Donalyn Miller agrees. “The Everywhere Book Fest communicates the importance of reading in an accessible and joyful way at a time when families need it more than ever.”

Founded by authors Melanie Conklin, Ellen Oh, and Christina Soontornvat, the aim is to bring the celebration and joy of the book festival experience directly into the homes of readers everywhere. The idea for Everywhere Book Fest came about when the organizers were disappointed by the cancellation of book festivals and events all over the world. They wanted to do something for all the festival attendees and authors who wouldn’t be able to promote their books.

While the festival is free to your students, Everywhere Book Fest will have book purchasing links available that link to independent bookstores, particularly those hard hit by the event cancellations. The festival has partnered with We Need Diverse Books to distribute books to schools, libraries, and community-based literacy programs in need around the country.

Those book donations, the livestream technology, and a team of ASL interpreters for live panels would not be available without the robust support and sponsorships from the children’s publishing community.

As you approach your lesson planning for May 1st and 2nd, pencil in the Everywhere Book Fest. In your Zoom meetings, inform other educators and parents about the festival. Subscribe to the Everywhere Book Fest YouTube Channel and get notifications so you and your students can take advantage of this amazing literary #virtualfieldtrip!

Anna E. Jordan was the recipient of the 2013 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery award and has an MFA from the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems appear in the anthology The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems (Candlewick, 2019).

Until the COVID19 outbreak, Anna managed school events at the landmark specialty children’s bookstore Books of Wonder. A long-time member of SCBWI, Anna was the Director of the New England Conference (2007-2009) and the Regional Advisor (RA) for Northern New England (2009-2011). Anna taught middle school language arts for ten years in various Maine school districts.