If you love books, and love to read (you’re our kind of person!), the LA Times Festival of Books on April 22 & 23 is an event you simply can’t miss. Held on the USC campus, this outdoor festival celebrates books of all kinds and for all ages with authors, singers, performers and even characters come to life. Bring your little bookie and discover some new favorite authors, books, stories, songs and adventures, together.

photo: LA Times

Put it On Your Calendar

Saturday, April 22 & Sunday, April 23. Hours are Saturday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

The Good Stuff
Where to go and what to do? First, head straight for the Reading By 9 Children’s Stage, where you’ll want to set up camp because there is a constant stream of entertainment scheduled on both days starting at 10 a.m. until the festival ends. You can easily spend all day both days here and not get bored. (Totally true, we’ve tested it out. Just bring plenty o’ water, snacks and shade—mini umbrellas are awesome.) Kid’s book readings are interspersed with lively musical acts, so kids can dance & get the ants out of their pants and aren’t required to simply sit still and listen all day.

latimes6photo: Meghan Rose

The Best StuffOk, you’re short on time. You’d love to have a couple of hours to browse through the website, planning on who to catch on what stage. But since time is always in short supply, we figured you’d like this cheat sheet for the best events each day for families:


11:30 a.m. at the Reading By 9 Children’s Stage, David Shannon, author/illustrator of the new Duck on a Tractor, will be giving a reading.

Noon on the Reading By 9 Stage, the Center Theater Group will do a short performance from Into the Woods.

12:30 p.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage, you can hear Jon Klassen’s new book.  We love him!

12:30 p.m. in Bovard Auditorium, see legendary congressman John Lewis in conversation.  This is one of the indoor events you’ll need (free!) advance tickets for.

3:10 p.m. on the USC Stage, hear the funk of Thumpasaurus

3:30 p.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage, Ladybug Girl is back, with her author & illustrator—and Grandpa!

photo: LA Times


11:30 a.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage little scientists can learn about life on Mars and future community organizers (and presidents!) can find out about activism for kids.

1 p.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage, popular middle grade author Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Shines My Shoes) will be here with her new book Dad and the Dinosaur.

1:30 p.m., on the Reading By 9 Stage, meet Winnie! Not the Pooh, but Danica McKellar from The Wonder Years, who is reading her new math book for kids, Goodnight, Numbers.

2 p.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage, one of our very favorite authors, Drew Daywalt (The Day the Crayons Quit) will be here with Adam Rex and their new book, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.

2:30 p.m. on the Reading By 9 Stage, local singer Laurie Berkner has turned her song We Are the Dinosaurs into a new book for kids.  We’re hoping for a reading and a performance.


latimes3photo: Meghan Rose

There are also amazing demonstrations, conversations and readings geared for adults, so if you have someone you can take turns watching the kids with, perhaps you can sneak away to see Roxanne Gay, George Saunders, Joyce Carrol Oats, Bryan Cranston, Tippi Hedren, Cheech Marin or Dave Grohl or perhaps catch a cooking demonstration from Ayesha Curry (Steph’s wife), Jessica Koslow (from Sqirl) and loads more.

4554021738_f511c13067_zphoto: pop geek culture via Creative Commons

Speaking of Good Stuff: What to Stuff (In A Backpack)
Since nearly all of the family-friendly activities are outdoors (and there’s never enough shade to go around) you’ll also want to slather on the sunscreen, don sun hats, and pack a water bottle for every person in your group. Food is available just about everywhere at trucks, stands or restaurants, or feel free to bring your own. Bring a sheet or blanket that folds up small—when you find a shady spot, you might want to set up camp.

la times festival booksphoto: pop geek culture via Creative Commons

The Skinny on Coming and Going
Admission to the festival is free for everyone! But there is a $12 fee for parking at USC, where the festival takes place, and in some lots at the Coliseum. Due to heavy traffic (this is also where everyone has to come to the Science Center and NHM), we recommend taking the Metro Expo Line, exiting at the Expo Park/USC Station.

Be sure to check online before you go for details about taking the Metro (which also gets you 10% off all your Festival book purchases all day), the bus, driving or parking. If you have little ones who tire easily, you may also wish to bring wheels in the form of strollers or wagons. It gets hot, they’ll want to be carried, and you’ll be too busy carrying books (and water, blankets, hats, sunscreen, snacks, etc).

photo: LA Times

Some special indoor events require tickets, which are free, and can be reserved in advance online or have limited numbers available at the festival on the day of the event, at the festival ticketing booth.

Online: events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks

What is your little bookworm’s current favorite book? And who do you look forward to seeing at the festival this year?

—Meghan Rose