Ride Your Child's imagination: Miami International book Fair, Nov. 9-16

MIAMI -- How can a fair possibly be fun without a Ferris wheel, cotton candy and unending game booths with stuffed animal prizes for lucky winners? Easily, if it's the Miami Book Fair International, where families will discover a world of culture and fun, and loads of interactive programs to entertain and inspire kids.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Miami Book Fair will welcome hundreds of celebrated authors, book publishers and booksellers, as well as thousands of visitors to downtown Miami, which for eight days will become the literary center of the world. Major literary figures will read aloud and discuss their works during special "Evenings With…" lectures, while the Street Fair and International Village will offer the opportunity to explore and purchase books about different cultures and in different languages.
Children's Alley
The ever-popular and ever-expanding Children's Alley, with stage performances, arts and crafts, and interactive programs, will help kids discover how thrilling reading can be.
At the Dr. Seuss tent, little ones can dress up like Yertle the Turtle, make a wearable Lorax moustache and search for hidden turtles in the sand. At "Play and Learn with Elmo," kids will enjoy arts and crafts, dress-up, interactive story time and musical performances. New this year is a "green" tent, where children can explore how to save the planet while having fun at the same time, building a birdhouse or planting a seed.
Throughout the weekend of Children's Alley activities, the authors of children's favorite stories will be doing storytelling or readings, including Jon Scieszka, creator of The Stinky Cheese Man, Jorge Ramos, who will read from I'm Just Like my Mom! I'm Just Like my Dad, in a special Spanish session and Laurent de Brunhoff, author of Babar, who will appear with Babar and Celeste for a reading. Also on the stage, will be musical presentations from Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theater, Momentum Dance Company and a special dramatic interpretation of the book selection for this year's One Picture Book, One Community by Palmetto Middle School's drama department.
One Picture Book, One Community
One Picture Book, One Community is an initiative in which young children collectively read the same book and complete related classroom and homework activities. Now in its sixth year, the program places a copy of a specified book in every first-grade classroom in Miami-Dade and Broward County public schools.
This year's book, Max's Words by Kate Banks, is a story of a young boy who wants to start his own collection to rival the collections of his older brother and sister, who won't let him touch or play with theirs. What does Max ultimately decide to collect? You guessed it: words. In addition to classroom copies, 23,000 first grade students receive their own copy of the book.
Something for older kids
This year, there's new programming for those who are a little too old for Dr. Seuss but not quite ready for Russell Banks. A lineup of storytelling workshops, acting and dancing sessions, rock band performances, poetry and comic book presentations will take place on the patio of the Student Life Building to appeal to 12- to 17-year-olds.
A series of special presentations, with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Nikki Giovanni and Jeff Kinney will also be held at the Gusman Center.
Also new this year will be the Comix Galaxy, with programs on graphic novels and comics. This literary form has seen a recent surge in popularity, fueled by the Japanese manga and integration into mainstream bookstores and school curricula.
Check the web site for schedules and locations of all events. With something for every age, your kids are likely to come home with an armful of books and a mind full of wonder instead of a funny-looking stuffed dog and a stomach ache.
Fifth Miami Book Fair International
Nov. 9-16
Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami
Nov. 14, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Nov. 15, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 16, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 15-16
Admission adult, $5;
18 and younger, free.
Nov. 9- 13. Visit the web site to order and download free tickets.