The University of Southern Mississippi expects hundreds of children's librarians, teachers and fans of books for children and young adults at its 53rd Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival from April 1-3.
The event at the Hattiesburg campus includes lectures and workshops featuring renowned authors and illustrators and other experts in the field.
The Wednesday-through-Friday festival also includes the presentation of the Ezra Jack Keats Awards and the Magnolia Book Awards.
Keats was an author and illustrator whose wordless picture book "The Snowy Day" is the New York Public Library's most checked-out book. The foundation he created has annual awards for an outstanding new writer and an outstanding new illlustrator. Mississippi children and teens will vote in February for Magnolia Book Awards in four age categories.
The festival's top award, the Southern Miss Medallion, is going to Rita Williams-Garcia, who has written a dozen young adult and middle-grade novels. Her bestselling "One Crazy Summer," published in 2010, won the Coretta Scott King Author Award and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
It was also a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award finalist.