Two weeks ago, twelve middle grade authors traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for our first-ever OMG BookFest. Our goal was audacious and simple: let’s take over an entire school and give one thousand kids the best day ever. And guess what? Thanks to you, we did it. Our high-energy author troupe divided into themed breakout rooms that offered games, trivia, and laugh-out-loud fun while also celebrating the joy of books and reading. Every child who walked through the doors of Performance Academies also received a free book, and left—we hope—with wonderful memories and a love of storytelling that would linger long after the day was done.
We were heartened by the immediate outpouring of support we received from within the children’s books community. From authors and educators to publishers and volunteers, everyone was ready to take on a role. You are the reason we got this first festival up and running five months from its inception, and our thanks is heartfelt and bottomless.
While we were only in Columbus for a few days, we packed our schedule to make the most of our time there. We enjoyed a private tour of historic Thurber House, now a museum and artist-in-residency space where author and humorist James Thurber once lived. We all attended a walk-through of the architecturally stunning Columbus Metropolitan Library, and met up for a group book signing at Gramercy Books, a brand-new local Indie bookstore. Several of us even got to visit the famed Columbus Zoo, as well as the Center for Science and Industry (COSI).
Now more than ever is a time for seeking and learning, for sharing ideas and listening to other voices. Our resolve right from the earliest days of OMG was to get out there and connect with new communities and their children. We were honored to work with Dr. Myrrah Satow, Founder and President of Performance Academies, and invigorated to meet so many wonderful educators and many young people who are directing and shaping the future. And as we look to future successful OMG BookFests in other towns and cities, we want to celebrate this same spirit of curiosity, learning, and appreciation. Onward!