Montana Kid Lit Festival 2022

June 8-11 at the Billings Public Library

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(Official Montana Kid Lit Festival Logo created by Victoria Cassou)

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, June 8th

Dorothy Patent (Author)

  • 11am-12pm in the Community Room, Virtual
  • Dorothy takes a look back on her long career writing about the animals, plants, and people of the American West. She also notes changes at the publishing end that have been underway and are continuing into the future.

Sheila Ruble (Author)

  • 3-4pm, Community Room
  • A reading of excerpts from Fire Pony, an adventure tale about a girl, a bronc, and a very brave Border collie and their race to save two missing horses in the face of a raging wildfire. The author will also talk about the two real life events that inspired her to write a cliff-hanger story of courage, determination, and luck that appeals to both children and adults.

AJ Otjen and Sabrina Half (Authors)

  • 4:30-5:30pm, Community Room
  • Sabrena Half, a member of the Crow Apsalooke tribe, co-authored all four books (Lily Good Path Series). She is co owner of the publishing company Bakaate, LLC with a mission to teach children to care for the earth and respect all native cultures.
  • Dr. A.J. Otjen is the other owner of Bakaate, LLC. Bakkate, pronounced ba ga da, means children in Crow. Otjen authored all four of the of the Bakaate books and is working with Sabrena on the fifth, "Elk Morning at the Battle of Arrow Creek".
  • Sabrena Half, Co-author of the Lily Good Path series of Children's Books, will be reading their Fourth Book, Elk Morning Counts His First Coup. Crow braves must count four coups to become a chief. The first is to steal a great horse from a rival tribe. This book is accepted by Indian Education for All and currently in the Montana Public of Instruction curriculum.

LuAnn Rod (Author)

  • 6-7pm, Community Room
  • "Maddie McDowell and the Rodeo Robbery: History and imagination makes for a rollicking good time”

    When old becomes new, a story set in an earlier time can both entertain and develop a lifelong interest in learning about the past. Finding the right balance between fact and imagination is key to writing historical fiction for middle grade readers.

Thursday, June 9th

Erika Wilson (Illustrator)

  • 12:00-1:00pm, Teen Corner, 2nd Floor
  • Illustrator Erika Wilson will be hosting an illustration session for children.

Friday, June 10th

Susan Adrian (Author)

  • 4:30-5:30pm, Community Room
  • Susan Adrian will talk about magic in stories, and lead an interactive workshop with the kids to create their own version of a Neverland adventure. This event will be lots of fun, and spark the imagination!

Janet Fox (Author)

  • 6-7pm, Community Room
  • Imagination and the Magic of Middle Grade with Janet Fox

    An idea is a seed. How does a writer take that seed and grow it into a book? Janet will describe the joy of creativity, and she’ll share with the audience how exactly she harnesses but also releases the power of the imagination to create stories about real people, historical events, or fantastical realms.

Saturday, June 11th

Sue Lawrence (Author)

  • 10-11am, Community Room
  • Kid Readers Make Awesome Writers!

    If your child’s old enough to read, they’re ready to write their stories, too. In this session geared to ages 5-9, Montana author, Sue Lawrence, will read her picture book, Montana’s Memory Day: A nature-themed foster/adoption story, illustrated by Erika Wilson. Sue will also share her writing journey as a debut author and engage the kids in an active storytelling exercise. Each child will be encouraged to “write your stories NOW — you’re already a “thinker” and a “rememberer” — and you have unique stories to tell!”

Precious McKenzie (Author)

  • 11:30am-12:30pm, Community Room
  • Interested in historical fiction? Learn how Precious McKenzie turned the story of the real racehorse Ruffian into a novel for teens.

Illustrator Panel

  • 1-2pm, Community Room
  • Listen to a panel of illustrators as they share their creative process and how their rough sketches became published books!

    (Photo of Jeanne Bowman)

Illustrators' Reception

  • 3-4pm, Community Room
  • Mingle with Montana Kid Lit creators and ask them all about their stories and art that are on display as part of the Montana Sparks Show.

Author Sneed B. Collard III

  • 4:30-5:30pm, Community Room
  • Birds & Books: The Adventures of a Children’s Book Writer
    Montana author Sneed B. Collard III shares his passion for nature and adventure, and describes how they inspire an endless variety of creative ideas. He’ll especially focus on how his love of birds and his travels to see them have shaped his most recent titles including Waiting for a Warbler, a finalist for the Green Earth Book Award.
  • Sneed will be bringing 50 free books to give away to the first 50 kids who show up and attend his book talk!

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

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