MDC’s Miami Book Fair Welcomes Families Back to Children’s Alley with New and Exciting Attractions

This year’s Children’s Alley will be teeming with interactive activity stations, storytelling, and performances Nov. 20-21; Kids can learn, create and participate in drop-in, timed as well as ticketed events and workshops.

 Miami, Nov. 9, 2021 – Rediscover Miami Book Fair’s (MBF) famed Children’s Alley with exciting family-friendly activities and entertainment appealing to children of all ages, from infants to teens. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Alley will look a little different, but remains committed to its mission of fostering a love of reading in children while nurturing the next Generation Genius.

This year, tent walls will be replaced with canopies to shield against the sun and create large, open-air spaces where children and families can comfortably enjoy the sights and sounds of Children’s Alley. Some areas will be available for drop-in projects, while others will offer timed workshops. Outdoor lounge areas and picnic tables will be available for rest and play.

Generation Genius gathers MBF’s literacy and learning programs for children and teens and presents them all under one banner. These programs are also offered year-round, such as Read to Learn Books for Free, which distributes thousands of books to children throughout Miami-Dade County.

Children’s and young adult book author sessions will be live-streamed and available starting at noon EST on the day they are released. In addition, these sessions will be accessible indefinitely for viewing even after the Fair concludes.

Presenting authors include:

A storytime with children’s author Margaret Cardillo and her picture book Dogs at Work: Good Dogs. Real Jobs, illustrated by bestselling artist Zachariah OHora. This book for young children up to the third grade takes readers on an imaginary journey of all the jobs dogs can do when their people leave for school or their places of work. This session will be available on Sunday, Nov. 14.

On Monday, Nov. 15, Senator Elizabeth Warren will have a discussion with actor and author Busy Phillips about her new book Pinkie Promises, an inspiring story to encourage young readers to dream big. Polly knows she’s strong and capable, but whenever she offers to help her uncle, brother, or neighbor, she is told: “That’s not what girls do.” Then one day, Polly goes to a rally to meet a woman running for president, and they make a pinkie promise to remember all the things that girls do.

A panel featuring top young adult novelists that includes New York Times bestselling author Chloe Gong on Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2); Lambda Literary Award-nominated writer C.B. Lee on A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix and Bethany C. Morrow on So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix will have a discussion on “Remixing the Classics” moderated by J.E.D.I. (justice, education, diversity, and inclusion) educator Dr. Keshia Abraham. This event is for students in grades 9-12. This session will be available on Thursday, Nov. 18.

On Friday, Nov. 19, another panel discussion on resistance, romance, and building fantastic worlds includes Melissa Albert on The Hazel Wood: Tales from the Hinterland, Romina Garber on Cazadora: A Novel (Wolves of No World #2), Jordan Ifueko on Redemptor (Raybearer #2), and Darcie Little Badger on A Snake Falls to Earth will be moderated by educator and Frolic Young Adult book reviewer Aurora Dominguez. A session for students in grades 9-12.

In conversation with M-DCPS educator Jessica Rebhan, New York Times bestselling author and film director Soman Chainani will discuss transforming old stories into fresh fairy tales in his book Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales. This is a presentation for students in grades 3-7. The session is available on Saturday, Nov. 20.

On Sunday, Nov. 21, a storytime with leading actor, producer, and director Channing Tatum and his picture book debut, The One and Only Sparkella will introduce audiences to a charming ode to self-esteem and the love between a father and daughter. This book, illustrated by Kim Barnes, is for children PreK to third grade. In addition, Young Trailblazers: The Book of Black Inventors and Scientists will help children learn about science and history in an engaging, exciting way! Haitian author M.J. Fievre, illustrator Kim Balacuit, and host Thomas B. Logan will take viewers on an adventure, traveling through time to meet some of the historical Black trailblazers who have impacted the world through their actions and inventions.

New at Children’s Alley in 2021:

Going up in place of the Alley’s old tent walls is a canopy that will shield visitors from the sun and create large, open-air spaces where everyone can comfortably enjoy the sights and sounds of this long-awaited weekend event. Some activity areas will be available for drop-in projects, and some will have timed workshops. Since seating will be limited, all timed workshops will require a free ticket which can be picked up at the Info Booth. Outdoor lounge areas and picnic tables will also be available.

This year another new space available at Children’s Alley is The Oasis, a colorful resting area located near the outdoor fountains that provide an open-air lounge space where visitors can rest in between author events and activities and gather the family to watch pop-up performances and demonstrations. The Oasis is a Reimagining Cities Project from MDC’s The Idea Center and Moonlighter Miami.

Wembly Wordsmith, a staple of Children’s Alley, will be back, bringing along a taste of the rainforest in the form of a kaleidoscopic Amazonian utopia filled with multicolored animals, outdoor hoopla, and storytelling from around the world. Timed workshops, make-and-take activities, performances, and more will be available in the outdoor plaza. Activities to learn, create and participate will be held in open-air canopies.  Highlights include:

  • LEARN: This area will feature a mix of hands-on activities and “Ask an Expert” chats and Q&As. In addition, participants will discover science demos, archaeology treasures, history lessons, and more.
  • CREATE: This station will feature a variety of artistic activities, including several timed artist workshops. Parents and children can get a more in-depth art experience, but space is limited, so visitors must pick up a free ticket at the Info Booth.
  • PARTICIPATE: Whether it’s sitting down for an interactive folktale with a storyteller, humming along to a song, or asking an archaeologist everything you’ve ever wanted to know, the Participate stage is the place to be. In this area, visitors can rest while watching short plays, stand up and dance to some songs, or clap to the beat of the drums.

At the Info Booth, visitors can get directions to a specific tent or get a Wordsmith Passport to complete the Children’s Alley adventure. Visitors who pick up a passport and finish all activities can redeem it at the Info Booth for a book of their choice.

Other activities:

This year’s featured poster artist, Francisca Oyhanarte, not only lends her talent and vibrant color palette to create the official Miami Book Fair 2021 poster. Fairgoers will have the opportunity to develop their patterns or color them in at various community coloring walls that will be available in Children’s Alley with Francisca’s designs. Attendees can also join the artist for a construction paper collage workshop.

SunnyBell, Florida Dairy Farmers’ spokescalf, and Florida Dairy Farmers will take visitors on an adventure-filled journey to a dairy farm, the state fair, and a MOOsical. Participants will learn where milk comes from and how to make ice cream and butter through books, activities, and experiments.

Books & Books Jr. is also back at Children’s Alley with something for kids of all ages. Fair visitors are welcome to stop by their stand for book recommendations, signed copies, and more.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. (EST), in a live-streamed event, The National Book Foundation presents the 72nd Annual National Book Awards’ Teen Press Conference, hosted by author, speaker and educator Kwame Alexander. In partnership with the School Districts and Public Library Systems of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, High school students from these regions and New York City public schools will ask questions to the finalists of the 2021 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature.

Children’s Alley will be open from 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. Admission for children ages 0-12 is free; teens ages 13-18 pay $5.

MBF’s children’s programming is possible through the generous support of Batchelor Foundation, Meredyth Anne Dasburg Foundation, Selma and Joseph Swartz Trust, Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, Alvah H. And Wyline P. Chapman Foundation, Peacock Foundation, Publix Super Market Charities, The Children’s Trust, The Early Learning Coalition, NEA Artworks, Florida Dairy Farmers, Cowles Charitable Trust, Florida Power and Light, UHealth Jackson Children’s Care, Thomas B. Jelke Foundation, Miami Kids Magazine, and Miami Mom’s Blog.

For Miami Book Fair information, visit, or call 305-237-3528 or email

Follow the Miami Book Fair on social media @miamibookfair.  

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About Miami Book Fair 

Founded in 1984 by Miami Dade College and partners, Miami Book Fair engages the community through inclusive, accessible programs that promote reading and support writers year-round. The annual eight-day festival has grown into the largest and most comprehensive community-rooted literary gathering in the United States generating discourse on contemporary literature and current issues of international importance. Throughout the rest of the year, Miami Book Fair responds hosts an ongoing schedule of activities, including The Little Haiti Book Festival; creative writing and publishing workshops; author presentations; reading campaigns; and Read to Learn Books for Free, a partnership with The Children’s Trust that distributes more than 150,000 free books a year to children in Miami-Dade County.  Miami Book Fair programming is made possible through generous support from the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts; City of Miami; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; Miami Downtown Development Authority; and Friends of the Fair; as well as many corporate partners. Miami Book Fair: Building community, one reader at a time.

Miami Book Fair contact: Lisa Palley, Palley Promotes, 305-642-3132