Spotlight on The Orange County Children’s Book Festival


This coming Sunday the 29th is the Orange County Children’s Book Festival and I will be attending in the Author’s Booth section dressed in my pirate gear.  This festival holds a special place for me because years ago when we attended with my (then) three year old daughter – Penelope the Purple Pirate was just a dream and I was at the very early stages of writing the story and had yet to meet Paul Johnson, our Illustrator.  I still remember walking through the book festival looking at the authors selling their books and thought to myself that one day I will be here too, selling my book.  I didn’t know when (or how) this would happen, but I was determined to make it a reality.  Fast forward four years and this is my third festival where I will showcase Penelope and now Gerry the Giraffe.  My daughter has been there with me the past few years which made it even more special as I was able to share this with her.  Here we are last year inside my pirate booth!




It is such a wonderful festival to bring the kids to as it encourages a love of reading and writing.  Plus, there are many local authors who are there happy to personalize their books for you!  I had a chance to speak to the founders, Pat Burns and Barry Ackerman who created the Orange County Children’s Book Festival ten years ago.  Here is what they have to say about the inspiration behind creating it and why they feel it has grown into one of the largest children’s book festivals in the country.


Barry and Pat IMG_5355

What was the inspiration behind creating the OC Children’s Book Festival?
From the very beginning Barry Ackerman and Pat Burns wanted to create  an event to inspire the joy of reading and the love of books. To  achieve their goal they felt that bringing popular authors  and illustrators to meet children and their families would bring  books to life. They also felt it was necessary to have vendors that  provide recourses for literacy and education.
Why do you feel the OC Children’s Book Festival is one of the largest children’s book festivals in the country?
Around the country there are children’s book festival events conducted  by schools and libraries. They usually attracted a few hundred people. The  Orange County Children’s Book Festival attracts over 35,000 people throughout  the one day.
What has been one of your favorite comments from parents about the festival?
Actually, the best comment we received was overheard from two  young girls leaving the book festival each carrying a bag of  books.  They were giggly with excitement and said, “This was more fun  than Knott’s Scary Farm!”
Any news you want to share with Penelope’s mates?
Come and bring the entire family. There are authors, illustrators and  storytellers to inspire everyone. And, there’s great entertainment,  lots of exhibitors to visit, animals to pet and fun food to eat. Books are  available to purchase, too. We like to say, “Books available from cradle to  college!”
To read more about the Orange County Book Festival go to:
And if you are local – make sure to stop by Booth #35.  I will be there handing out some pirate treasure from 9:30-1 pm.


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