• Children

Young Children and Middle Graders

Events for young children, middle graders and their parents

Young Children (Ages 0-7)

The festival offers great entertainment for young children on the Showtime Stage, where storytelling from leading authors and illustrators is mixed in with performances that will get kids dancing.

We also offer indoor programs that can help you find great great books that both you and your children will enjoy, and also help you learn a bit more about children’s literature.

  • Writers and Artists Whose Books You Love, Part 1: A Picture Book Extravaganza for Kids and Their Adults (with Ana Aranda, Jon Agee, Gennifer Choldenko, William Joyce, Michael Slack, moderated by Alex Green) Calling both children and adults to celebrate the joy of reading on a lovely Saturday afternoon in the big tent on the grass in the park. No one’s ever too old to read a great story—even if it’s meant for kids. (Aren’t we all still kids inside?) These all-star picture-book creators share some of the key moments and inspirations from their journeys as visual storytellers that both kids and adults will love.
    Saturday, June 3, 11:00AM-12:00PM. FREE at the San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park
  • Karl Newsom Edwards Presents I Got a New Friend Welcome back Karl Edwards, the artist and writer behind ‘Fly!’ (a story about self-discovery through perseverance that encourages toddlers to get up and move to their own buggy groove), and a brand-new book about a little girl, a new puppy, and the work that goes into friendships. “Totally, infectiously ebullient!” says Kirkus.
    Saturday, June 3, 12:00-12:30PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • All About Cornelia Funke: Meet and Hear the Beloved Author of Inkheart, The Reckless Series, Lilly and Finn and More! Join beloved children’s author Cornelia Funke, the award-winning German storyteller and illustrator of ‘Inkheart,’ the Reckless series, ‘Lilly and Finn,’ and her latest, ‘The Book No One Ever Read.’ A children’s story that Cornelia calls “her ‘Inkheart’ for kindergarteners,” this new picture book is a magical journey into the experience of a book that longs to be read. Don’t miss your chance to hear one of the great voices of children’s literature and take part in the debut of this picture book (already a favorite of festival staff) that is sure to become a classic.
    Saturday, June 3, 12:15-1:15PM FREE at the San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park
  • Doreen Cronin Presents Click, Clack, Surprise! Kids across the world know her books and so do their adults: ‘Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type’. ‘Giggle Giggle Quack.’ ‘Duck for President.’ ‘Diary of a Worm.’ ‘Diary of a Fly.’  To name just a few. Now it’s time to meet the most talented Doreen Cronin in person!
    Saturday, June 3, 12:30-1:00PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Ana Aranda Presents The Chupacabra Ate the Candlestick Ana is a Mexican artist and mural painter, and are we ever glad she created the illustrations for this tale about three goats and the legendary chupacabra, whose favorite food is not what those goats expect! It’s a hilarious, laugh-out-loud story with vibrant illustrations to love.
    Saturday, June 3, 1:15-1:45PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • William Joyce Presents Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo With ‘Dinosaur Bob,’ William Joyce cemented his place on family bookshelves as a beloved staple of the best in picture books. He’s now written and illustrated 50 bestselling and classic children’s books and written, produced or designed a number of major feature films for 20th Century Fox, Dreamworks and Disney (including design and story work on Pixar’s “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life”). We’re celebrating all-new editions of the stellar ‘Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo,’ and ‘A Day with Wilbur Robinson,’ along with favorites ‘Bently & Egg’ and so many others!
    Saturday, June 3, 2:00-2:30PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Michael Slack Presents Shorty and Clem Michael introduces a new dynamic duo: Shorty is not a lizard. He’s a very short dinosaur. He’s a shortysaurus. Clem is not a chicken. He’s a quail, which doesn’t explain his name at all. When Clem goes out one day, Shorty finds a package. An exciting package. An irresistible package. But it’s addressed to Clem. Should he open it? You’ve got to hear the whole story!
    Saturday, June 3, 2:30-3:00PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Jon Agee Presents Life on Mars Jon Agee is the author and illustrator of a slew of quirky, witty, and beloved books, including ‘Terrific,’ ‘Milo’s Hat Trick,’ and ‘The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau,’ along with a series of popular wordplay books, among them, ‘Go Hang a Salami! I’m a Lasagna Hog!’ His newest book is about a daring young astronaut, certain he’ll find life on Mars. He has even brought a gift of chocolate cupcakes. Will he find life on Mars, or has he made a mistake? It’s time to find out!
    Saturday, June 3, 3:00-3:30PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Writers and Artists Whose Books You Love, Part II: A Picture Book Extravaganza for Kids and Their Adults (with Candace Fleming, Gianna Marino, Innosanto Nagara, Dashka Slater, and Eric Rohmann) “Read it again!” So goes the litany of kids wanting their favorite book again. Adults too have favorites among authors they read to their children or enjoyed in their youth. Some of today’s favorites appear here, on a perfect Sunday late morning in the park. Isn’t it fun, whatever one’s age, to have a story read to you? Grab a cup of coffee or a sippy cup and sit back to enjoy.
    Sunday, June 4, 11:00AM-12:00PM. FREE at the San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park
  • Dev Petty Presents I Don’t Want to Be Big Picture book writer Dev Petty’s new book tells us about Frog. Frog does NOT want to grow up. He’s just FINE being small. Besides, if you grow up, you don’t get to do fun things like jump in mud puddles with your best friend, Pig. Do you? Fans of her hit picture book ‘I Don t Want to Be a Frog’ will love this silly, stubborn-as-ever companion book.
    Sunday, June 4, 11:00-11:30AM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann Present Bulldozer Helps Out A very little bulldozer learns that taking care of kittens is a very big job in this darling follow-up to ‘Bulldozer’s Big Day’ from award-winning author Candace Fleming (‘Go to Sleep in Your Own Bed’, ‘Muncha Muncha Muncha’) and Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann (‘My Friend Rabbit’, ‘Time Flies’). Little Bulldozer wants to help, but all the bigger trucks say he is too small. When Crane Truck steps up to help, they find a family of newborn kittens living in the pile of debris! Can he take care of babies? Now that’s a tough job. A job that happens to be just the right size for Little Bulldozer.
    Sunday, June 4, 1:00-1:30PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Dashka Slater Presents Escargot Are you a picky eater? Do you like animals? Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things: 1. to be your favorite animal. 2. to get to the delicious salad at the end of the book. But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you! —he discovers that it’s not so bad after all.
    Sunday, June 4, 1:30-2:00PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Innosanto Nagara Presents My Night at the Planetarium Author and illustrator Inno, the force behind ‘A is for Activist’ and ‘Counting on Community,’ now board book staples at home and in schools, brings us a true story from his childhood in Indonesia. It is a child’s view of a particular place and time—but it is also an introduction to Indonesia, a story about colonialism, and a message about the power of creativity. Art and resistance!
    Sunday, June 4, 2:00-2:30PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage
  • Gianna Marino Presents Splotch Splotch, a pet fish, was meant to be in his bowl when his boy got home from school—but he isn’t there! There’s only one conclusion: he must have run away. But when he mysteriously returns, Splotch’s distinctive spot has moved and the only explanation is that he has been CHANGED BY ALIENS! When the spot moves yet again, it’s clear something fishy is going on. This hilarious story poses the question that, when it comes to this family, who is protecting whom?
    Sunday, June 4, 2:30-3:00PM. FREE at the Showtime Stage

Middle Graders (Ages 8-12)

  • Post-Picture Books: Fantastic Fiction for Elementary School Readers (with Gennifer Choldenko, Doreen Cronin, Mike Jung, Judd Winick, Adam Mansbach, moderated by Regan McMahon) Moving from picture books to more text and fewer pictures is easy for some young readers and not so much for others. These writers successfully bridge the gap, creating stories that keep kids reading. They’ll talk about their work, inspirations, characters, and strategies to hold kids’ eyes on books.
    Saturday, June 3, 1:30-2:45PM. (Session #27) Get tickets
  • How to Speak Up: A Story of Courage Fred Korematsu was a typical American guy—he liked to listen to music and hang out with his friends. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941 and the government forced all people of Japanese ancestry to move to prison camps. This included Fred, whose parents had emigrated to the United States from Japan many years before. But Fred refused to go. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he got put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up. Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi share Fred’s courageous story, how he made the United States a fairer place for all Americans, and how you too can speak up for what matters.
    Saturday, June 3, 5:00-5:45PM. (Session #45) Get tickets
  • Spinning Stories and Telling Tales: Exploring Cultural Appropriation via South Asian Children’s Literature (with Mitali Perkins, Sunaina Maira, Ginee Seo, and Arjun Gupta, moderated by Sadaf Siddique) Stories are the lifeblood of a culture’s survival, but who has the right to tell someone else’s story? After experiencing decades of cultural appropriation in South Asian children’s literature, the “our own voices” movement reminds us that not all diverse stories are created equal. Writers and editors break down the far-reaching, harmful effects of appropriation, and reasons why we need truthful, authentic cultural representation more than ever.
    Sunday, June 4, 10:00-11:15AM. (Session #50) Get Tickets
  • Cornelia Funke’s Breathing Books “Behind the mirror, the darkest fairy tales come alive.” The beloved author of Inkheart, the Reckless series, and many other books—all of them re-read repeatedly by her avid fans—is also a publisher. Cornelia Funke’s Breathing Books is a multidimensional production and publishing company committed to the love of storytelling. Cornelia will talk with fans and readers both young and old(er), sharing with them her passion for storytelling and experience as a publisher.
    Sunday, June 4, 12:15-1:00PM. FREE at the San Francisco Chronicle Stage in the Park

Plus: THOUSANDS of FREE BOOKS from the East Bay Children’s Book Project (donated by Half-Price Books in Berkeley).

For more detailed information, plus a grid of sessions with times and locations, pick up the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, May 28. We’ll also post a downloadable PDF version of our children’s programming on this site in late May. See Teens and Family Fun pages for even more to do with your kids.