September ushers in National Literacy Month, and the DMV is teeming with book-centric celebrations and activities. From a Library of Congress sponsored festival to a pint-sized play village inspired by classic children’s tales here are the best places to foster a love of hard covers (and paperbacks!).
#1 National Book Festival
The basics in life: food, shelter, oxygen… and books! Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, “I can’t live without books!” and hence a theme was born for the 15th annual festival hosted by the Library of Congress. This year’s event (which is free and open to the public) will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, with more than 175 authors doing readings, signings (or both).
When: Saturday, September 5 from 10 am to 10 pm.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl., NW
#2 The Young Readers Center at The Library of Congress
Nearly one-third of all books that have been published in the United States can be found on the shelves of this library; with so many choices its easy to find a worthy read to cozy up with. The books at the The Young Readers Center are non-circulating meaning you can’t check them out, but you can read them—on repeat if you please—onsite. Every Friday (except holidays), the Center hosts story time for infants and toddlers at 10:30 am. Free admission stickers are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 10 am.
When: Every Friday (except holidays) at 10:30 am; free passes distributed at 10 am.
Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ G29 (ground floor)
10 First St., SE
If reading a book can spark a child’s imagination, just imagine what a book-themed play place could do! This interactive learning center is geared toward children five and under.
With developmentally appropriate books and activities, Storyville fosters literacy and school readiness skills. And it’s just a really cool hangout.
When: Mon-Thu, 9 am-9 pm; Fri and Sat, 9 am-5:30 pm; Sun, 1 pm-5 pm
Baltimore County Public Library (Rosedale and Woodlawn branches)
6105 Kenwood Ave. (Rosedale, Md) and 1811 Woodlawn Dr. (Woodlawn, Md)
410-887-1165 (Rosedale); 410-887-1336 (Woodlawn)
#4 Books for America
There’s no better way to celebrate reading than to add a new book to your bookshelf. The library is nice, but sometimes you want to own a tome you’ll cherish for years to come. This bookstore, nicknamed “Bookstore with a Purpose,” also serves as the non-profit organization’s headquarters. You and your family will find an assortment of books at bargain-basement prices and the best part is, 100% of your purchase will benefit the organization’s book distribution programs. And if your littlest has a library gathering dust, this bookstore cheerfully accepts donated books.
When: Monday, Friday, Saturday 10 am -6 pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 am -9 pm; Sunday 11 am – 5 pm
Books for America
1417 22nd Street NW
#5 East of the River Book Festival
Founded by “A is for Anacostia” author Courtney Davis, this festival celebrates writers who are independently published or hail from small presses. Explore culturally diverse books at this free community event.
When: Saturday, September 12 from 11 am to 3 pm
Anacostia Arts Center
1231 Good Hope Rd., SE
#6 National Portrait Gallery
On select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, the National Portrait Gallery hosts “Portrait Story Days.” Young visitors and their families are invited to gather for a reading from a select book that depicts the life of a famous person from history. After story time, participants are encouraged to create a piece of art influenced by the tale. Bonus: there is no fee to participate.
What’s your kids favorite books/reading related activitiy to do.