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Books and Reading
Mrs. Bush poses with children during her visit to the 2003 National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2003.
Mrs. Bush poses with children during her visit to the 2003 National Book Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2003. White House photo by Susan Sterner

The National Book Festival 2003

The 2003 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by Laura Bush, was held on Saturday, Oct. 4, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The third annual National Book Festival featured more than 80 award-winning and nationally known authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers who delighted the public with their readings and performances. The 2003 National Book Festival attracted a crowd of more than 60,000 to the National Mall.

"The National Book Festival is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers from across the nation to celebrate the joys of reading and storytelling," said Mrs. Bush. "Whether you're a lifelong reader or a beginning reader, I hope that everyone new books and inspiring authors."

Two new pavilions, Home & Family and Poetry were added to the 2003 National Book Festival. Renowned chefs Jacques Pepin, who has hosted several shows on PBS television, and Patrick O'Connell of the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, and Paige Davis and Frank Bielec of the cable television program Trading Spaces were among the authors who appeared in the Home & Family pavilion. Poets from throughout the country read their poems and provided commentary in the new Poetry pavilion.

Other pavilions included Children, Teens & Children, Fiction & Imagination, Mysteries & Thrillers, and History & Biography. Featured authors included Julie Andrews, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Stephen Carter, Pat Conroy, Catherine Coulter, Nelson DeMille, Julia Glass, Cassandra King, Walter Dean Myers, James Patterson, Bob Schieffer, and R. L. Stine. Festival-goers brought their own books or bought them at a kiosk on the Mall for signing in the Book Signing Pavilion.

Storybook characters, including favorites from PBS, appeared on stage and strolled the Festival grounds. As part of the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve program, NBA and WNBA stars, including Rebecca Lobo, Tamika Williams, and Bob Lanier, the Hall of Fame center who has written four children's books, were featured readers in the "Teens & Children" pavilion.

In the Storytelling pavilion, 11 performers brought to life the stories of Africa, Scotland, Appalachia, the Cherokee Nation, and other traditions that compose our national culture and diverse heritage.

Reading programs, book festivals, and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories were all represented and publicized in the Pavilion of the States. In addition, national reading and literacy promotion organizations distributed information about their activities in the Let's Read America pavilion, and Festival sponsors presented a variety of family-friendly reading promotion activities in the companion Let's Read America II pavilion.

Related Links
National Book Festival
Texas Book Festival
White House Colloquium on Libraries, Museums, and Lifelong Learning
White House Salute to American Authors Series
White House Conference on School Libraries
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Teaching Children to Use their Public Library
Laura Bush’s Family Favorites
Laura Bush: Librarian and Teacher