Children’s Book Fair postponed until next year

A scene from the 30th Annual Children’s Book Fair. – Herald file photo

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

Hyde Park’s annual Children’s Book Fair has been postponed until next year as board members work to move the fair back to 57th Street between Kimbark and Dorchester avenues.

“It’s true we’re not having the fair this year, we will be back in 2018,” said board member Tara Baldridge.

Rebecca Janowitz, who created the Children’s Book Fair in 1986 as a way to celebrate the first month that kids are back in school, said members voted to hold the fair next year and to move it back to 57th Street.

“We’ve recruited a lot of board members. We thought that it would be too quick of a turnaround to try to hold the fair on 57th Street this year and so we thought we would shoot for next year,” said Janowitz, who remains with the Children’s Book Fair organization as a board member. “Nobody is walking away from the fair or anything like that.”

In an email to the Herald, board member Judy Jakush said, “The board made a difficult decision, but a necessary one to postpone it for a year, and we are confident that next year’s fair will be stupendous! We appreciate your understanding and continued support.”

Jakush said next year’s book fair will return on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in the location where it began over 30 years ago.

The Children’s Book Fair was moved to Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St., about five or six years ago. Janowitz said the reason behind the move was because they could no longer use Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., as a rain location.

Those who were running the fair at the time believed that the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave., was an easier space to move into in the case of rain.

Janowitz said the board is considering having the fair on 57th Street’s business corridor rather than on Kimbark Avenue. It all depends, she said, on getting permits.

“We’re vesting quite a bit in tents and tenting for the fair,” Janowitz said. “You can’t make anything that is outdoors weather proof.”

Janowitz said that with fundraising the group believes that they have enough money to “tent the fair and worry less about moving it. It’s always a huge hassle if you try to move it inside.”

Last year the fair celebrated 30 years in Hyde Park. The annual event featured local, independent bookstores, Chicago authors, and storytellers.

One of the highlights of the fair is the fairy tale characters that show up to interact with children. In the past, Professor Dumbledore, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Peter Rabbit and the Veggie Tales gang have made appearances at the fair.

For more information, email the board of directors at 57cbf@gmail.org.

t.hill@hpherald.com