Calling all bookworms, casual readers and those looking to get more into reading: The 19th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival returns on Saturday, Aug. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the free and open-to-the-public event will feature bestselling authors, novelists, historians, poets, children’s writers and more, including presentations by acclaimed chef José Andrés and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The National Book Festival will host more than 140 authors, illustrators and poets on stages to present their work. Guests can hear talks on children’s books, fiction, historical writing, biographies, poetry and science. There will be thematic programs and panel discussions, as well.
Other activities include book signings; lessons on what it takes to become a professional librarian; a sneak preview of the film Free for All: Inside the Public Library; a panel on how libraries are adapting storytime for different generations; copyright trivia; and much more.
For the kids, The Washington Post will host animated readings by local children’s book authors every hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and The Posts’s mascot, Ned the Newshound, will be there to take photos with festival guests. And for parents, there’s even a panel titled, “How to Raise a Reader,” being held from 5 to 6 p.m.
Northern Virginia is home to a number of high-profile and bestselling authors and, thanks to the region’s thriving independent bookstore scene, there’s no shortage of places to find talented Virginia writers likeRussell Baker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from Loudoun County, and New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. On Aug. 9, embrace your inner bookworm by heading over to a local bookshop and purchasing a few summer reads in honor of National Book Lovers Day.
Looks like the page might be turning on the booming fortunes of political books in the era of Donald Trump.
As you may have noticed, there’s no shortage of Washington drama. But it seems there’s a growing abundance of fatigue over books chronicling it.
Makes some sense. If you’re bombarded in the morning paper with news of DC turmoil. Then on the radio en route to work. Maybe in a lunchtime conversation with co-workers. On the way home again. And the evening talk shows that have become evening argument shows.
How much then would you want to pay $30 to curl up with an entire book of more of the same?
Maybe you remember last year ‘Fire and Fury’ was a best-seller for Michael Wolff for fully half the year. That chronicled alleged details from inside the drama of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and early days in the White House, though many questioned their veracity.
Then, there was ‘A Higher Loyalty’ by professional martyr and document-leaker James Comey, late of the FBI Director’s office, and another Bob Woodward opus called ‘Fear’ that also sold big late in 2018.
This year there’s bupkus like that selling big.
Wolff did a hurry-up, follow-up called ‘Siege’ designed to tap into that Trump loathing and fascination.
So far, Volume 2 hasn’t even crept into this year’s top 20 best-sellers.
The Trump-favorable book ‘Unfreedom of the Press’ by Fox News contributor Mark Levin has sold fairly well at No. 7, pushing more than a quarter-million copies out the bookstore doors through June.
Howard Kurtz of Fox News has ‘Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War Over the Truth’ that came out early this year.
Canadian native David Frum, who works for The Atlantic now, has written ‘Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.’ You can guess its contents.
Same goes for ‘It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America’ by David Cay Johnston.
One that is worth a look is the brand new ‘Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and Future of the Supreme Court’ by Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist and Fox News panel and attorney Carrie Severino.
With the distraction of outdoor activities, video games, time with friends and mobile devices, reading and other academic activities aren’t often at the top of your child’s summer agenda. Which, left unchecked, may lead to summer learning loss, often referred to as the summer slide.
Research shows that on average, students’ achievement scores can decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning.
What happens to a child’s brain if it is not academically active during the summer? With children, it’s all about growth all year-round. If a child isn’t academically engaged over the summer then the content gained throughout the school year can be lost. Keep in mind that summer learning loss can be cumulative. Academic content lost over successive summers begins to add up and can set your child back in terms of long-term learning.
If there is one academic activity kids should try to focus on over the summer, what is it? While other subjects are important, reading is the gateway to learning. After the third grade there is a shift from learning to read, to reading to learn. If your child isn’t engaged in reading, then they aren’t building skills that will help them understand other subjects and access related content that is only unlocked by reading.
How often should a child read over the summer? It’s all about quality of the book, the level of interest your child has in what they are reading and how closely the reading material matches their academic literacy. The book should be at a reading level similar to where the child was at the end of their most recent grade to make sure critical literacy skills are reinforced.
How can you promote reading when kids are not in school? Children are more engaged in books that they pick themselves. When in the library, allow your child to pick out books on their own. Parents can help select reading material if your child tends to choose books beyond their reading level or if you plan to actively engage with your child in reading that book. When making choices with your child, try to keep in mind the literacy skills your child needs to practice over the summer.
What should parents do if a child has difficulty with reading? One thing that I often recommend is audio books. From the perspective of literary skills and comprehension, there isn’t much of a difference between listening to a book and reading a book. For example, in terms of reading comprehension, making predictions, inferences within the text, understanding character development and story sequences are all things kids do with audio books as they do with a physical book. While audio books shouldn’t completely replace print books, they can serve as a good alternative and create a great way for families to enjoy books together.
Kristina Hardy, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist within the division of neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System and is an associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Hardy has expertise in developmental and acquired difficulties with attention, learning and executive functioning.
What’s better than relaxing with a good book in bed? Reading in bed at a luxury hotel.
The Morrison House in Old Town recently launched a new program, Bedside Reading, which offers guests great books to delve into during their stay.
Didn’t have time to finish it? You can take it home.
The program (which is nationwide with other participating luxe hotels) offers a rotating selection of books, but the first trio includes Arlington-based author Helaine Mario and her latest thriller Dark Rhapsody.
The second in the local author’s Maggie O’Shea mystery series follows four seemingly disparate stories that all intertwine throughout the novel. A luxe Old Town hotel and some great reading material on the bedside? Sounds like the perfect staycation to us. // Morrison House: 116 S. Alfred St., Alexandria; rates from $239
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Bookworms, crack this open: Barnes & Noble opened a new store prototype at Fairfax’s Mosaic District on April 24.
The location is the brand’s smallest store in the country (Barnes & Noble has been testing smaller formats over the past few years), sizing in at only 8,300 square feet.
The store offers an assortment of books (24,000 titles are currently available), a curated selection of educational toys and games, family games, puzzles and gift items.
The design is also a part of Barnes & Noble’s changing aesthetic, featuring oak bookshelves, a mix of wood grain tiles and carpet and lower bookshelves for panoramic views of the stores. Also, the Children’s Section includes a dedicated LEGO activity table.
Like most Barnes & Noble locations, the store in Mosaic District includes a Starbucks, with beverages, baked goods and grab-and-go snacks.
The location will also host events for the community, including book fairs for local schools, book signings with authors and storytelling sessions for kids. For more information, visit barnesandnoble.com. // Barnes & Noble: 2921 District Ave., Suite 180, Fairfax
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Print is not dead, based on the voracious appetite for a copy of the Mueller probe.
To say there was significant interest in the conclusion of the nearly two-year investigation into Russian Collusion is clear. The obsessive nature of the news nets in covering the release of the Mueller report — and covering their own tracks of culpability — has been extensive. To go along with this level of hype the public has been hungry to see the findings themselves as well. Robert Mueller’s report has become a publishing hit.
After Thursday’s release of the full but redacted investigation report, a number of publishers have rushed to get their copy of the probe into the marketplace — and the advanced sales are strong. Not just in select political categories but in overall book sales various versions of The Mueller Report take up numerous positions at the top of the lists in sales on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
The top edition comes from Skyhorse publishing, with an introduction from Harvard Legal expert Alan Dershowitz. The number two advance seller is published by the Washington Post, with an introduction by reporters who covered the investigation and includes a timeline of events and the inclusion of a number of key documents with explanations offered by Post writers. The third most popular is a straight forward copy of the report with no introduction or framing by other individuals.
All of these editions are on pre-order at the moment, as they are currently being printed. They are expected to become available sometime this week. If you are interested in obtaining a copy for yourself you do not need to wait that long — and you may be able to get it at no cost. A number of booksellers have digital editions available sooner than the published paperback copies.