by April Bayer
The Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival is about to grace Concordia’s campus with its loud, lovely and literary presence once again. Each year the event brings thousands of elementary school students and hundreds of adults to the campus to listen to presentations by children’s authors and literary experts, to participate in literacy-based activities and to read and celebrate children’s literature together.
With this event taking over what would normally be a quiet weekend on campus, you may be tempted to lock yourself in your dorm room and hide, but never fear—here’s everything you need to know to survive (and hopefully even enjoy) the Plum Creek Festival.
1. Prepare yourself (both physically and mentally) to be surrounded by thousands of small children and other guests.
According to Festival Director Dylan Teut, about 5,000 students will be visiting the campus on Friday, followed by 500 adult guests on Saturday for the Adult Conference. That means that a lot of people will probably be wandering through spaces that are usually more quiet, such as Janzow Top, TLEC Main Street and Link Library. Consider doing your homework in a different area on those days if you need to minimize distractions.
2. Be welcoming and encouraging.
Many of these guests will be visiting Seward for the first time. If someone seems lost, give them a friendly Concordia welcome and point them in the right direction.
“Whether you are a person who loves kids, or tries to avoid them, just walk around during the festival with a smile,” Teut said. “All of these children are here to see famous authors and illustrators and be inspired. It always helps to get a friendly hello from a college student.”
3. Check out an author presentation or book signing at the Adult Conference.
Concordia students get the awesome opportunity to attend the Adult Conference for free and possibly even meet some of their favorite childhood authors in the process. This year’s lineup of authors, illustrators and experts includes keynote speaker and author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan, Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon Draper and Brandon Mull, the New York Times best-selling author of the Fablehaven series, just to name a few.
4. Visit the display of pop-up book art in the Marxhausen Gallery.
If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the current exhibition, “The Wizards of Pop,” in the Marxhausen Gallery. It features work by artists Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart and gives a detailed visual tour of the process of creating a pop-up book. The display also includes several fun and colorful pop-up books by the artists that visitors can read and interact with. The artwork includes depictions of jungle animals, folklore, dinosaurs, fairy tales and sea creatures.
5. Sit back and read a children’s book.
As college students, we already have more than enough reading to do. When your eyes start to blur from reading yet another long textbook chapter, why not try and recapture some of your excitement for reading by picking up a children’s book? You may think that sounds ridiculous. After all, you’re an adult. However, you may find that just taking a few minutes to relax, soak in some vibrant illustrations and ponder a meaningful story can make a world of difference. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and read a book.