Kids flock to Book Fest

Emily Gries

Imagine a place where a big, red dog and a big, brown monkey are walking around. And tattoos are given away while story books are read.

Eh, stick-on tattoos.

But this is exactly what children did last Friday and Saturday at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest at Bowling Green’s Sloan Convention Center.

The Book Fest brought in more than 200 children’s and adult authors from all over the country to promote their books.

In addition to book signings and speaking sessions, children’s activities were held both days. Story book characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George delighted the throngs of children.

Katelan Shartzer, 11, and her brother Jacob, 9, came to the Book Fest with some of their friends and their mother Marie Shartzer, a senior from Portland Tenn.

“I like adventure books,” Katelan said.

“Magic Tree House!” shouted Jacob.

“I don’t really care who the author is, I just read them,” said their friend, Chris Akridge, 13.

Katelan, Jacob, Chris and two other friends, Janae Booker, 12, and her twin brother, Ryan, all roamed around the Book Fest in a little pack. They met some of their favorite authors and checked out all the children’s books.

Swarms of people moved from table to table chatting with authors of all genres.

Ilene Smiddy came to the Book Fest from Desoto, Mo., to meet different authors.

Smiddy wrote a book three years ago, “Daughter of Shiloh,” which had a lot of success.

“It’s about a pioneer woman from Kentucky who was kidnapped by Native Americans and ended up in Missouri,” she said.

Smiddy spent 20 years researching the true story before she was able to finish the book.

Not just children, but people of all ages gathered at the Book Fest.

Denise Hendrix of Bowling Green brought eight women from the retirement community, Village Manor.

“We like to hit all of the fun spots,” Hendrix said.

Tompkinsville junior Keri Turner came to the Book Fest because her literacy teacher told her about it.

“I want to teach kindergarten or first grade,” Turner said. “I got more into children’s books now that I’m in my major.”

Reach Emily Gries at [email protected]