Telling Tales festival puts children's books and authors in the spotlight
The festival brings together Canadian storytellers and young readers to share in their common love for books
On Sept. 16 and 17, Telling Tales held its annual children’s book festival while simultaneously celebrating its 15th anniversary. Located at the Royal Botanical Gardens, it was a free event and accessible to anyone who wished to attend.
The festival was originally created as a way to showcase children’s books and their authors, as well as to bring together the community. Canadian storytellers and authors would be able to attend and connect with fans and audiences, a family-friendly event that highlights literacy for younger people.
Linda Cvetanovic, manager of communications and marketing at Telling Tales, is in charge of promoting the festival, working with media and media outlets, creating graphics and maintaining the festival’s online presence so that people are aware of the event and its details.
Cvetanovic explained that the goal of the festival is to inspire a love of reading and literacy in children, as they can become more engaged with stories when they’re able to interact with the people who have written some their favourite books. Telling Tales has something for everyone, including musicians and community partners guaranteed to entertain people of all ages.
The festival is unique in Hamilton because of its target audience and its purpose. Along with being one of the only family-focused festivals in the city, showcasing Canadian authors and artists is another aspect that makes it different from other activities Hamilton has to offer.
The process for organizing Telling Tales begins right after it ends, jumping right into the next year’s project. The employees begin to build a reading list and reach out to publishers to see if any authors want to promote their books or if there are any new releases coming up. The selection committee then reviews the options and chooses the finalized reading list for the year. Next, decisions about who will be presenting and what the festival will look like are made. Up until the end of the actual festival, the process continues to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Over the last fifteen years, the community response to Telling Tales has been positive. Families have enjoyed the festival and its variety of activities, such as the annual Book Swap and Shop. This activity gives parents the opportunity to trade their gently used books for new ones, so that families can save money while giving children new reading material.
Cvetanovic hopes that people who came to the event walked away having learned something new about their community and about reading.
“We hope that we've inspired a love of reading and that children are excited about reading…Quite often we look beyond our own borders for literature…So hopefully they walk away and are impressed with the quality of artists that we have locally and across Canada,” stated Cvetanovic.
While the festival is geared towards families, there are chances for university students and people of all ages to get involved as well. Cvetanovic encouraged students to volunteer at the festival, especially for those looking to pursue a career in event management or teaching.
This year’s festival also offered a book talk geared towards a more general audience, in which audience members could interact with a panel of authors and ask questions about publishing, the writing process and other aspects of the literary field.
Telling Tales can be a fun event to go to with friends or family members, helping to support Canadian authors and children’s books. It can also be a nostalgic trip back in time, to meet authors of your favourite children’s books or see the new generation of readers that get to experience reading and literacy like you once did.
While this year’s festival has passed, Telling Tales also hosts a variety of outreach events throughout the year, and they’ll be back for their sixteenth annual festival next September.