Go batty at this summer’s Children’s Art + Literacy Festival

May 8, 2023Sidney Levesque, Marketing Director for the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council

Don’t miss early bird registration for the festival that fans are calling “incredible,” “inspiring,” and “a summer highlight!”

Go batty at this summer’s Children’s Art + Literacy Festival (CALF) as the Storybook Capital of America® brings the books of award-winning illustrator Brian Lies to life! The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council turns downtown Abilene into a childhood adventure you won’t forget from Thursday, June 8 to Saturday, June 10 with extra programming at the Abilene Zoo on Sunday, June 11.

The festival brings more than 5,400 people from all over Texas and states across America. This book festival is unlike any other because we celebrate the illustrator! The picture book artist on exhibit each summer at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in downtown Abilene is the inspiration for our festival.

Brian Lies has illustrated more than 30 books, including two best-selling bat books series and the Caldecott Honor-winning book, “The Rough Patch,” which also won the Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. His newest illustrated book is “Wombat Said Come In” written by Carmen Agra Deedy.

The festival will kick off Thursday, June 8 with Group Day for day cares and summer camps. Nearly 700 children will attend Group Day who might otherwise not be able to come to the festival thanks to our generous sponsors.

The festival opens to the public Thursday afternoon with a costume contest, Storybook Parade, and unveiling of our 28th Storybook Sculpture set based on the book “The Rough Patch.” Abilene is home to the largest Storybook Sculpture collection of its kind in America if not the world. Brian Lies will be joining the festivities in Abilene, which includes the opening of a summer exhibit of his original artwork at the NCCIL, the first museum in the nation to exclusively exhibit children’s picture book art. Thursday night, see the artist in action at the Paramount Theatre and draw along with him during the free “Sketch with Brian” event followed by a book signing.

A festival pass is required to attend Friday and Saturday events, which include dramatic readings of Brian’s most popular books at six venues with art activities and costume characters, a live production of “Little Bat in Night School,” ventriloquist Nancy Burks Worcester, Le Marionette Theater of Dallas, Kornpop the clown’s balloon show, train rides, Abilene Philharmonic Instrument Petting Zoo, May Farm Petting Zoo and more! Children collect CALF buttons for their festival lanyards as they complete each activity. Wear your CALF pass on Sunday, and you can enter the zoo for free and experience more CALF with book readings and animal encounters.

Register for CALF at www.abilenecalf.com and celebrate the art of childhood! Thursday events are free. Passes for Friday and Saturday are $8 for children 3-12 (2 and under are free) and $13 for ages 13 and up through May 15. After that date, passes are $11 for children and $16 for ages 13 and up.

The Texas Legislature declared Abilene the official Storybook Capital of Texas in 2015, and in 2018, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved Abilene to trademark and exclusively use the term “Storybook Capital of America®.”

CALF started in 2012 and is a program of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce dedicated to promoting the arts and enriching lives in Abilene. For more information and full schedule of events, visit www.abilenecalf.com or call 325-677-1161.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *