Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis once said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” This fall, Benicia’s top children’s writers, educators, and librarians will lead an inspiring and informative event designed to help parents, children’s writers, educators and youth expand children’s horizons through a love of literature: the KidLit Symposium. This two-part event seeks to “promote the joy and importance of literature and non-fiction for and by children and young adults.”

Benicia Literary Arts co-president Josanna Berkow explains that reading is “critical to forming an intelligent, caring, empathetic, aware human being who can function in this world properly.” It’s vital to their success. And whether parents seek fresh inspiration for reading with their children or aren’t sure where to start, they’ll gain the tools they need. Benicia High School student and writer Ann Klingelhafer says that a love of reading is essential for our youth, in life and in school. “It helps you to be more comfortable talking to people. It also helps when doing assignments so you get a gist of what you’re doing,” she says.

Award-winning writer and Clayton Valley High School teacher Rob Rogers explains that with the online world and social media, “just about every kid is his own publisher and is contributing in a way to the written world.” It’s important, Rogers says, to talk about how to do it right. And the event also offers special support and instruction for adults interested in writing for children. Aspiring and experienced writers will both find helpful guidance as they create new worlds for children.

Sponsored by local non-profit Benicia Literary Arts, the October 20 symposium will begin with a panel discussion and question-and-answer session focused on the importance of literature, reading, and writing and how to foster it in children’s lives. In addition to Rogers and Klingelhafer, the panel will feature local children’s writers, Benicia High School English teacher Teresa Finn, Bookshop Benicia owner Christine Mayall and Benicia Public Library librarians. An overview of and sign-up opportunity for the subsequent practical workshops, scheduled for November 17, will follow.

The panel experts will lead the workshops. One workshop is designed especially for current and aspiring children’s writers, divided into three separate interest groups, each offering genre-specific instruction. Another workshop focuses on what to read to your children, when to read it, and how to make it fun. A third explores the intellectual development of teen readers and writers. The fourth workshop will be led by teen writers, for teen and middle-school writers.

Participants can walk away better enabled to help children discover, as Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) wrote, that “the more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

KidLit Symposium & Workshops

Moderated Panel Discussion
Sunday, Oct. 20, 1-3pm, Arts Benicia Gallery, 991 Tyler St.
Free, $5 donation appreciated, Books for sale & complimentary refreshments

November 17, 1–3pm, Commanding Officer’s Quarters, 1 Commandant Lane
benicialiteraryarts.org/blablog, facebookcom/BeniciaLiteraryArts