Thousands of book lovers descend upon downtown Miami every year for a jam-packed week of events. But before you bibliophiles begin a frantic babysitter search before the Miami Book Fair, know this: There are plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages. And the best part is admission is free to the weekend street fair (Friday, November 17, through Sunday, November 19) for children aged 12 or younger.
Below is a list of some of the best events at the fair by age group, from readings to mock news conferences. We've barely scratched the surface of what the fair offers, so we encourage parents and kids to explore the fair and its guide.
Babies and Toddlers
Fun Room: Tot Time Play & Learn. Who said kids need to know how to read to enjoy the book fair? Head to Children's Alley for a day of toothless smiles and giggles as the Miami Children's Museum hosts fun, interactive readings of storybooks. Children will have the chance to play instruments, engage in arts and crafts, and do other fun stuff all weekend. 9 a.m. Friday, November 17, through Sunday, November 19, at Children's Alley, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Picture Book Author: The Okee Dokee Brothers. It's not every day that your child can hang with Grammy-winning musicians. And because the kids finally came down from their Halloween sugar rushes, like, yesterday, they'll be able to sit still for more than a minute. Catch Americana folk duo the Okee Dokee Brothers reading their inspiring picture book, Thousand Star Hotel, at the Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium in Children's Alley. 3:30 p.m. Sunday, November 19, at the Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium in Children's Alley, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Fun Room: The Rhythm Factory. If your kids think it's fun to bang on pots and pans on the kitchen floor, they'll love the Rhythm Factory. Bring the virtuosos-in-training to the fair for musical instrument education and all-out fun. Your little music lovers will become familiar with musical instruments from all around the globe — from rain sticks to didgeridoos to talking drums — with a weekend of singing and dancing. Be sure to explore the six fun rooms in Children's Alley. 9 a.m. Friday, November 17, through Sunday, November 19, at Children's Alley, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami, 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Author Michael Buckley. Best-selling children's book author Michael Buckley is celebrating ten years of the Sisters Grimm with a special edition of each book in the series. Fans of the girl-power adventure series are in for a treat. Plus, admission to the street fair is free for everyone Friday, November 17. 11 a.m. Friday, November 17, at Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, Second Floor, Room 3210), 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Inventions and Inspirations: Kid-trepreneurs. Parents, are you busy dreaming up your next million-dollar idea to present to the panel on ABC's Shark Tank? Well, your kids might beat you to it. Our city is breeding young business-minded "kid-trepreneurs" who are incredibly passionate. Bring the kids to the Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium in Children’s Alley for an afternoon of inspiration from some of Miami's very own young entrepreneurs, ranging from 8 to 18 years old. Hear about the work of Zoe Terry of Zoe’s Dolls, Sebastian and Brandon Martinez of Are You Kidding Socks, Delphine Nephtalie Dauphin of Joy’s Yummy Cakes, and Delaney Reynolds of the Sink or Swim Project. 4 p.m. Sunday, November 19, at Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium in Children’s Alley, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Kids’ Keynote: Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang. The Saturday-morning kids' keynote will supply the essentials, from science to coding, robots, and an important challenge. Are your kids strictly sci-fi, action, mystery, or horror readers? New York Times best-selling author and Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang invites bookworms to branch out with his Reading Without Walls Challenge. The Miami Book Fair's website explains the rules: "1. Read a book about a character who doesn't look or live like you. 2. Read a book about a topic you don't know much about. 3. Read a book in a format you don't normally read for fun (audio book, graphic novel, etc.)." Be sure to also check out Yang's presentation of Secret Coders: Robots and Repeats Friday, November 17. 11 a.m. Saturday, November 18, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 2, First Floor, Room 2106, Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Witchy (Wo)men: Modern Fantastical Witch Stories. The Magic City's annual literary festival is brewing something special for its covens of book lovers. Magic is bound to happen when you have a roomful of readers of modern fantastical witch stories. Join The Girl Who Drank the Moon author Kelly Barnhill, The Witch Boy author Molly Knox Ostertag, and Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales author Kiersten White for an afternoon of witchy delights. 1 p.m. Saturday, November 18, at MDC Live Arts Lab, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 1, First Floor, Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. These two have been a hit among middle-grade novel readers via their Nightmares! series and have teamed up again for Otherworld, the first book in their upcoming young-adult sci-fi thriller trilogy. The newly released tale recently made BuzzFeed's list "22 YA Novels You’ll Want to Read From Cover to Cover This Fall." Here's your chance to experience a special reading of Otherworld with New York Times best-selling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller right in your backyard. 9:30 a.m. Friday, November 17, at Chapman Conference Center, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 3, Second Floor, Room 3210, Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
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National Book Foundation Presents: The Teen Press Conference. Are you raising a young reporter in the making? Turn the TV off and head downtown for a live mock news conference hosted by Max Tilt: Fire the Depths author Peter Lerangis. Teens can catch the action live as 2017 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature finalists Samantha Mabry, Ibi Zoboi, and Robin Benway answer burning questions from Miami-Dade high-school students. Be sure to catch these authors at other events throughout the weekend, including Hope in Unexpected Places: Finding Light in the Dark with Ibi Zoboi; Award-Winning Readings: National Book Award Nominees and Finalists in Young People’s Literature with Samantha Mabry, Ibi Zoboi, and Robin Benway; and Between Two Worlds: Adventure Stories with Peter Lerangis. 10 a.m. Friday, November 17, at 300 NE Second Ave., Building 2, First Floor, Room 2106, Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.
Robert Sikoryak Presents Carousel: Comics Performances and Picture Shows. Parents, gather every comics aficionado you know, load up the minivan, and make your way downtown for this 20-year-old event's Miami Book Fair debut. Curated and hosted by cartoonist Robert Sikoryak, Carousel will offer a fusion of music, live painting, live narration, illustrations, and other fun with comics creators Mimi Pond, Nicole Georges, Jason Shiga, and Tillie Walden. 4 p.m. Saturday, November 18, at the Magic Screening Room, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 8, First Floor, Miami; 305-237-3258; miamibookfair.com.