The UCF Book Festival, scheduled for April 18th 2015, will offer readers and book lovers of all ages an opportunity to learn about new authors, new subjects, and new experiences. But rather than focusing only on adult readers, the UCF Book Festival packs activities for children and teenagers into the day-long event, ensuring that the festival is engaging for the whole family.

The 6th Annual UCF Book Festival will feature a Teen Zone specifically for adolescent and teen readers, giving young readers an opportunity to connect with authors, foster their own love of reading, and even participate in a writing workshop specifically for their age group.

“Give kids the opportunity to read, write, share, have fun, and explore their creativity, and they will find their inner voice,” says Dr. Elsie Olan, assistant professor of language arts education. “That’s what we try to offer as part of the UCF Book Festival each year – a chance for teenagers to turn their love of reading and their enthusiasm for a good story into becoming writers themselves.”

Tweens and teens will also be invited to join Camp Half Blood where they will train and prepare for an epic quest, searching for objects that have gone missing from Mt. Olympus. The young readers and aspiring heroes in grades 5-12 will get to experience events from both the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and the Heroes of Olympus series. The activity is free but spaces are limited.

“It is important for teens to immerse themselves in literature, especially when they are reading old favorites that they come back to again and again,” Dr. Yolanda Hood, Department Head of the Curriculum Materials Center, tells us. “Bringing books to life allows teens the opportunity to understand their favorite stories on a whole other level, to dig a little deeper. Becoming a character and experiencing what the characters do helps teens think more about the motivations of the character; teens have to work through the symbolism and metaphor in order to problem solve – all while having a whole lot of fun. And, kids or teens who have never read the books leave wanting to get their hands on those books as quickly as possible. It’s a great way to reach reluctant readers.”

The Teen Writing Workshop will be open to young readers and aspiring authors ages 13-18, and offers them a chance to work with UCF faculty in small-group writing activities, get feedback from peers and published authors, and explore new genres with their own writing. The writing workshop is also free of charge, and teens can register now to reserve their spot.

The 2015 UCF Book Festival takes place April 18th, 2015, on the UCF campus. Festival activities will take place in all three buildings on the education campus – the Teaching Academy, Morgridge International Reading Center, and Education Complex. There will also be food trucks for everyone to enjoy in between panels, readings, and activities.