‘We Are ALL Readers’ Festival Coming April 1

by | Mar 10, 2023

Join the Reading Challenge this month and take a StoryWalk too!

On Saturday, April 1, 11 children’s book authors and illustrators, including Caldecott Honoree author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal and local award winning author Padma Venkatraman, will take the stage at North Kingstown High School, as part of the We Are ALL Readers festival. Children and families are invited to attend the free book festival celebrating diversity in children’s literature from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Festival author Debbi Michiko Florence will be visiting Eldredge Elementary School in the week before the festival.

We Are ALL Readers celebrates “mirrors and windows” in children’s books – books that reflect a diverse range of experiences so that readers can see themselves in literature, and can get glimpses of lives different from their own. Such books have been shown to increase self-esteem, empathy, and understanding. “Seeing yourself reflected in a book, knowing that you are not alone, can be a literal life-saver.” says Jeanette Bradley, local author/illustrator and festival volunteer. “We Are ALL Readers is a joyful celebration of the power of diverse books in kids’ lives.”

As a pre-event kickoff, the North Kingstown Free Library invites all East Greenwich residents age 3 and up to join in a reading challenge February 15 through March 31. In addition, 15 libraries around Rhode Island are hosting We Are ALL Readers StoryWalks in March, including the East Greenwich Free Library’s trailside StoryWalk in Frenchtown Park. Families are invited to walk from page to page of a picture book along an outdoor or indoor path. Those participating in the reading challenge can earn tickets to enter in prize raffles by reading books by the festival authors and/or visiting StoryWalks. 

This year the EGFL StoryWalk features Jeanette Bradley’s newest picture book, Something Great. Bradley has not only been an instrumental part of the creation of We Are All Readers, but she is also an East Greenwich resident and one of the library’s participating author/illustrators this year. 

“All children need to see themselves in books and also see other worlds and ways of life,” said Kathleen Odean, chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee and a North Kingstown resident. “I love that North Kingstown is highlighting diverse books at this exciting festival.” 

The festival on April 1 will feature story times, author talks, and craft activities. The 11 award-winning children’s authors and illustrators will sign books, available for purchase at the event from the Wakefield Books pop-up bookstore. The first 300 kids at the event will be able to choose a free new book to take home thanks to Reach Out & Read Rhode Island. Children ages 8-12 can preregister for a Comics Workshop with local artist M.J. Robinson. Participants can buy lunch and snacks at food trucks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

More than 300 people attended the 2022 festival. As one enthusiastic parent said, “My kiddos didn’t want to leave. So many new experiences and exposures for them that were just amazing!”

Children voiced similar enthusiasm about last year’s experience: “I loved getting to meet Janae Marks and getting my book signed!” said Maddie G., a 5th grader from North Kingstown. 

More information:  

WHEN: April 1, 2023 @ 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

WHERE: North Kingstown High School, 150 Fairway Drive, North Kingstown, RI 02852

COST: This event is free and open to the public. Register on Eventbrite to reserve your spot. 

Instructions on how to sign up for the reading challenge and where to find the StoryWalks® can be found on our website HERE.

Links to more information: 


Authors Presenting on April 1,  2023

  • Jeanette Bradley (Something Great, No World Too Big)
  • Juana Martinez-Neal (Fry Bread, Alma and How She Got Her Name)
  • Sarah Lynne Reul (Bubbie & Rivka’s Best-Ever Challah (So Far!), Nerp!)
  • Winsome Bingham (Soul Food Sunday)
  • Danielle Greendeer (Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story)
  • Jarrett Lerner (Geeger the Robot, EngiNerds, Nat the Cat Takes a Nap)
  • Lee Durfey-Lavoie and Veronica Agarwal (Just Roll With It)
  • Lisa Stringfellow (A Comb of Wishes)
  • Padma Venkatraman (Born Behind Bars, The Bridge Home)
  • Debbi Michiko Florence (Jasmine Toguchi series, This is How I Roll)


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