JOHNSTOWN - It's story time in Johnstown.
The sixth annual Children's Book Festival of Johnstown is taking place April 4, 5 and 6 at the BOTTLE WORKS Ethnic Arts Center and ART WORKS building.
The festival has "a wide variety of activities going on, and a family can basically come every day and experience something different," said Angela Rizzo, Learning Lamp development director and book festival coordinator.
Charlotte Blake Alston, master storyteller and narrator, entertains during last year’s Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown.
"This event is our opportunity, to give back to the community and so our hope is that families will come together, have a good time and leave with an excitement of reading; maybe take some new books home and just realize how important it is to read to your children and for kids to maybe find a whole new world of adventure in reading," Rizzo said.
The Learning Lamp, BOTTLE WORKS and ART WORKS sponsor the festival, which offers such happenings as author presentations, theater performances and musical, magic and circus acts, according to a Learning Lamp press release.
A new and used book sale, refreshments and arts and crafts activities will also be on hand. Every child receives a free book from First Book, a nonprofit international organization providing new books to children in need.
If you go
What: Tell Me A Story, Sixth annual Children's Book Festival of Johnstown
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. April 4; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 5; and noon to 4 p.m. April 6
Where: BOTTLE WORKS Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Avenue and ART WORKS, 413 Third Ave., Johnstown
Authors Gail Carson Levine and Debbie Dadey, and author and illustrator James Warhola will headline the festival.
Levine is the author of books including the Newbery Honor-winning book "Ella Enchanted," which was made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway.
Levine is looking forward to meeting kids at the festival, she said.
"Oh, I love to meet the kids. And I mean it's not only that, I like to talk to the adults too; I like to get the feeling of a place, so it's those things. But I love to meet the kids," she said.
Reading made Levine a better writer and "re-reading was very helpful because I read the books that I love over and over and over again and the language got inside me. And sometimes kids feel guilty for re-reading, but I think it's a good thing to do," she said.
Dadey is the author of books such as the 'Adventures of the Bailey School Kids' series, including "Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots," which she co-wrote with Marcia Thornton Jones. The series was named as "one of Scholastic's top three best-selling series of all time," Forbes.com said.
Dadey, whose husband grew up in Johns-town, said writing for reluctant readers is one of her passions, and she writes about monsters because they are a kid-friendly subject.
She also writes with humor, and dialogue to keep the story's pace up, which "seems to help reluctant readers dive into the book a little bit easier," she said.
Dadey said she is looking forward to visiting family while in town and it is "always fun also to meet people who are excited about reading and hopefully help encourage some reluctant readers to want to read some more."
Warhola, an established science-fiction and fantasy illustrator, has illustrated and wrote children's books, including "Uncle Andy," an International Reading Association award winner for best non-fiction picture book, about his childhood family visits to the home of his uncle, the late artist Andy Warhol, in New York City.
Warhola, who has also created illustrations for Mad Magazine and the "Garbage Pail Kid" card series, said his job as an illustrator of children's books is to "keep them captivated as they're reading the words and I just love that challenge," he said.
Warhola is thrilled about attending the upcoming festival.
"I've been to a few book festivals and they're always wonderful because I just love books and I love talking about books," he said. "It's my love in life really."
Dadey, Levine and Warhola will visit area schools too, the press release said.
For more organization on The Learning Lamp, check: www.thelearninglamp.org
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.