57th Street Children's Book Fair

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair and its 2009 schedule can be reached at www.57cbf.org (UPDATED WEBSITE UP NOW), Tara Baldridge at 773 619-8371, or 57bookfair@gmail.com. Manager has been Rebecca Janowitz, transitioning to Angela Sherrill. For brief highlights visit this (our) Cultural Calendar, By Date, Community Events as time for the fair approaches.

Look for it again on a Sunday, mid Sept. into early October are possible dates. 2010 Sept. 19 1-6.

57th St. Children's Book Fair will have tables available to parent, pac, etc. groups in schools raising money for their schools, supplies etc. (Food is excluded.) Their website is http://www.57cbf.org with information on how to reserve.

Rebecca Janowitz passing the torch

Children's book fair will have new leadership in 2009. Hyde Park Herald, September 24, 2008. By Daschell M. Phillips

Rebecca Janowitz, founder of the 57th Street Children's Book Fair, is passing the leadership role over to angela sherrill, who is the children's book buyer and coordinator for 57gh Street Books ... The book fair, which is the largest independent children's book fair in the Midwest, will have storytellers including Oba King and M ama Edie Armstrong, music guests such as Shanta Williams, authors including Blue Balliet, new and used book sellers and arts and crafts events. Children will also get to meet their favorite storybook characters including Mother Goose, and Veggie Tales characters Bob the tomato and Larry the Cucumber.

What is now a large event that is expected to attract about 10,000 people this year had very humble beginnings, said Janowitz. "Once upon a time 22 years ago there was a dispute over a lease for O'Gara Wilson Used Bookstore, which is now Hyde Park Bank", said Janowitz. She said the selling of the used bookstore left Friends of the Hyde Park Book Sellers group, of which she was a member, with nothing but the store's mailing list.

"I said we should do something with this mailing list,, so we asked people to donate money for a children's book fair," said Janowitz. "We collected $1,000 from people who sent in $10 or $20. The public library lent us a set of costumes and [a volunteer] made a life-sized version of the Great Green Room from "Good Night Moon" and that was our first book fair."

After the first year the fair had a big boost in attendance, said Janowitz. This year the book fair will be sponsored by University of Chicago, which has sponsored the book fair since its inception. WMAQ-TV 5, qubo Channel and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, which donated $10,000 [and] was secured with the assistance of state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13). Also, Clean Slate and other neighborhood organizations have signed up to volunteer at the event.

Janowitz said she decided to relinquish her role because children and the book business have changed so much in the last 20 years. "I have no idea what's popular anymore," said Janowitz. "I have no small children in my house anymore." Janowitz said about three years ago children were fascinated with the volunteers who would type up their stories on the street and allow children to take their own "published" stories home the same day. Now "Kids aren't impressed by that. They say, "We do that in class."

She said the book selling business is also harder than it used to be. "The hardest part used to be finding a location to open your bookstore. Nowadays running a bookstore is very complicated," said Janowitz. "Over the years independent booksellers stopped coming to the book fair because they are no longer open."

Although things are no what they use to be, Janowitz said she still sees a purpose and value in the book fair. "The book fair is a good venue for many arts and culture activities and is a great marketing event," said Janowitz. She believes that Sherrill has the savvy to help the book fair adapt to the changing world of children's book publishing.

Sherrill said she came to Hyde Park seven years ago to obtain her masters degree in arts and social sciences from the University of Chicago. Her goal was to work at a children's museum but during her job search 57th Street Books hired her. For the past four years children's books have been her focus. She said her work at 57th Street Books would not conflict with her new function of leading the children's book fair. "57th Street Books has been a big sponsor of the book fair and they will support my work with the fair," said Sherrill.

Janowitz said Sherrill wouldn't be overwhelmed with planning the book fair because there is a committee of volunteers who have helped plan the event for the past 22 years. They start preparing for the book fair as early as eight months in advance by creating costumes, stages and props and seeking sponsors. And on the day of the event an additional 100 volunteers come out to help with setup, teardown and wherever else they are needed.

Janowitz will officially give control of the book fair to Sherrill at a private ceremony in January. "I can't tell you where it will be," said Janowitz. "But there will be a crown and cocktails involved." She's having the secret ceremony to celebrate a pleasant transition. "I'd like to have a good transition," said Janowitz. "Lately I've been seeing a lot of well-loved institutions that had bad transitions. I want a good and happy transition." For more information about the children's book fair, visit 57cbf.org.



2006 program

September 17, Sunday, 1-6 pm. 57th Street Children's Book Fair. With lots more! In cooperation with several community service organizations. Between Kimbark and Kenwood. Rain loc. Ray School. New web address www.57cbf.org.
Author appearances outside 57th Books: 1-2 Blue Balliett (Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3), 2-3 Carolynne Crimi, 3-4 Sanders Betton, 3-4 (Ray School Cafeteria) Aaron Reynolds (Chicks and Salsa), 4-5 Selma Spilling Gilchrist, 5-6 Betty S. Hechtman. Other authors: Arlene Erlback (The Middle School Survival Guide).
Special appearances: Championship Ballroom Dance Group of Pershing West, Canter Music Trio, Our Lady of Guadalupe's Mexican Folkoric Dance Group, Hyde Park Neighborhood Choir of Chicago Children's Choir, Hyde Park School of Ballet, Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, Chris Fascione, Mana Edie, Oba William King, Magician Steve Belliveau. Xeko. Crown making, face painting with Star Farms, costume characters, your own science experiment, coloring Book Fair cat and balloon animals with Mary Macaroni.
Antiquarian booksellers Bibliodisia Books, Chicago Rare Book Center, Dorothy Meyer Books. Regular bookstores: 57th, Powell's, Children in Paradise, The Book Fair, Magic Tree, Usborne Books at Home, Autumn Leaves, Barefoot, Hoopoe, Pennyworth, Persistence of Memory, Transitions, African American Images, Homework Mastery.
Cultural and library: Blackstone and Friends of, Chicago Children's Museum (thumb pianos), Children's International Film Festival, Oriental Institute, Literary Works, Literacy Chicago, Chicago Area Reading Assn, La Leche League.

The fair's mascot, a cat with wide eyes and striped shorts makes its first ever appearance. Shoesmith, Murray, and Ray schools participate. Several local businesses helped make the fair possible: Patti Kidwell of Noodles Etc. has supported for several years. 57th Books/Seminary Coop Bookstores and Powells are staunch supporters. So are Bank Financial, Hyde Park Bank, Marian REalty, Carolan Apartments, Century 21/KRM, Urban Search.
Other, nonprofit sponsors are Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, South East Chicago Commission, Harper Court Foundation, Hyde Park Kiwanis, University of Chicago Office of Community Affairs, Brian McInemey Foundation, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), State Sen. Kwame Raoul.

Did you know, Hyde Park has more independent booksellers than any other community in Chicago.

Volunteering organizations include Blackstone Branch Library, 312 747-5011 and Friends of Blackstone Library, Contact Brenda Sawyer.



Hyde Park Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the 57th Street Children's Book Fair

Sunday, September 17th from 1-6 pm. From the September 2006 HPKCC Conference Reporter

By Tina Baldridge, www.57cbf.org

Twenty years ago, Hyde Park fought to preserve its heritage of independent booksellers in the battle to save O'Gara and Wilson, a rare and antiquarian bookstore, from losing their lease. As these Hyde Parkers created a network of like-minded individuals, the focus became not only on the survival of O'Gara and Wilson (which still stands on 57th Street today), but to the survival of independent bookstores and the character of the Hyde Park neighborhood. These individuals decided to expand their focus by creating a community-wide event showcasing our love of literature and the independent spirit. To that end, the 57th Street Children's Book Fair was founded.

This year, we are reminded of our humble beginnings and our focus on the future. As the need for literacy remains a struggle within our schools, the 57th Street Children's Book Fair encourages a love of literature in a fantasy-filled, three-dimensional exploration of books. At the Fair, children have th opportunity to walk into the pages of Goodnight, Moon and lift the flaps of a life size Spot book. Young visitors to the Fair realize that adults are just as excited about children's literature as they are. Tara Baldridge, this year's organizer, says, "Nothing puts a smile on a child's face faster than hearing that their favorite book is also your favorite. Especially if you've read it so many times that you know the words!" Adults interested in finding their long lost favorite will be happy to see t hat antiquarian booksellers Bibliodisia books and Chicago Rare Book Center will be in attendance. Combined with independent booksellers, 57th Street Books, Powells, African American Images, Barefoot Books, The Book Fair, Magic Tree Bookstore, Transitions, and a host of others, an abundance of literary choice will be available.

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair, held Sunday, September 17th from 1:00 to 6:00 not only focuses on reading literature, but also on the many ways in which storytelling inspires the creative arts. Storytellers Oba William-King, Mama Edie, and Chris Facione infuse their performances with musical instruments, song and creative movement while noted storyteller, Judith Heineman takes children on an international holiday with her tails from Native American, Egyptian, and Jewish cultures. The Hyde Park School of Ballet will explore literature and dance. Muntu Dance Theater will tell stories through drumming and music in an interpretation of a traditional African village performance. Authors at this year's Fair include Hyde Parkers Blue Balliett and Sandra Belton signing copies of The Wright 3 and Store-Bought Baby, respectively; Arlene Erlbach speaking from The Middle School Survival Guide, Aaron Reynolds making salsa and guacamole from Chicks and Salsa.

Cultural institutions at the Fair include neighborhood favorites, The Oriental Institute Museum, the Smart Museum of Art, and Hyde Park Art Center. Along with the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Chicago Children's Choir, and the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, children will have a host of hands-on activities to introduce them to many of our city's arts and history programs. Kids won't even realize they are spending the day learning with our host of educational organizations. With such interesting opportunities as Sit Stay Read's kid to canine reading demonstration, Literacy Works "Draw Me a Story" and Hand in Hand ECE Consultants' storytelling through art activities and puppet making, literacy surrounds Fair-goers with its involvement in everyday life. As an added treat, the Chicago Public Library will issue library cards and students from Columbia College under the direction of Dori Jaconsohn will help children create their own clowns to wear all day.

Penny Cox, 2006 Rochelle Lee, awardee and teacher from Dulles School, recommends the Fair, saying, "The Fair offers exposure to art and music that children may not get in school. When they look onstage and see other children performing and think, 'I want to do that!' it's a great opportunity for encouragement." This year, children will see their possibilities reflected in the Championship Ballroom Dance group from Pershing West, the Canter Music Trio, the Mexican Folkloric Dance Group from Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Chicago Children's Choir. Camille Hamilton-Doyle and her group of teens from Kenwood Academy will paint faces, host creativity tables, and disguise themselves as life-size storybook character.

The Fair starts at 1:00 at 57th Street and Kimbark with a parade led by the Kenwood Academy Marching Band, Mother Goose, and the famed CTA mini-bus. Contact Tara Baldridge at 57bookfair@gmail.com or (773) 619-8371 or online at www.57cbf.org.