One Book Two Books Festival

Attention young bookworms, aspiring novelists, and student storytellers, the UNESCO City of Literature Iowa City’s annual One Book Two Book Children’s Literature Festival returns Saturday and Sunday.

Ice skating with the Iowa Heartlanders and events at Sidekick Coffee & Books are just part of what’s planned for the festival.

Between that and an exhibit celebrating student life at the University of Iowa, here are two other events planned for this weekend in Iowa City.

One Book Two Books Festival of the City of Literature

The two-day festival celebrates literary arts among young people with various activities. Previous years have included a visit to arts education organization Story Pirates in 2018, book fairs and events featuring local authors. The festival started in 2012.

One Book Two Book recognizes talented young writers in the Iowa City area through a writing contest and has selected winners and honorable mentions from students in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor school districts. This year, the work of 30 children has been selected and can be read online at the One Book Two Book website.

On Saturday, Sidekick Coffee & Books will host an illustration workshop for kids ages 9-12. The workshop will be led by Jennifer Black Reinhardt, an Iowa City illustrator whose work includes “Blue Ethel,” “Gondra’s Treasure,” and “Yaks Yak.” Participants will draw their own character and learn how to create a picture book Illustrators will have their artwork shared on social media Katy Herbold, owner of Sidekick Coffee, will host a story hour for young people earlier in the day.

“The goals of the One Book Two Book festival fully align with Sidekick’s mission,” Herbold said in an email to the Press-Citizen. “Giving children the opportunity to explore all aspects of literature is an exciting opportunity for young readers. Sidekick and the One Book Two Book Festival are happy to be part of it.

Festivities at Blackhawk Mini Park at the Ped Mall on Saturday include a meet and greet with book characters and photo ops featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog, Taco Dragon, Zoom Squirrel and Wild Thing. There will also be free ice skating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with players from the Heartlanders, Jr. Heartlanders and others making appearances on the ice. Skates will be provided.

Caden Huntley reacts to meeting Clifford the Big Red Dog during A Book Two, a celebration of children's literature in the UNESCO City of Literature in Iowa City.

People of all ages are encouraged to respond to simple writing prompts while at the park. Responses will be compiled for a public art project to share with the community.

Sunday’s junior high songwriting jam features Iowa City author and artist Chuy Renteria, whose memoir “We Heard It When We Were Young” explores the growth of first-generation Mexican Americans in West Liberty. The writing jam is organized by the Iowa Youth Writing Project in conjunction with the One Book Two Book Festival. The event will take place at the Iowa City Public Library. Interested persons can register for the event online.

“We are excited to be able to offer in-person programs again, even though much of it takes place outdoors, as we continue to take the need for safety seriously as the community continues to respond to the pandemic,” John Kenyon, executive director of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, said in an email to Citizen Press.

“Our partners have always been important, but this year they really stepped up, with story times at libraries in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty, events at Sidekick Books and the Jr. High Writing Jam annual with the Iowa Youth Writing Project,” “We are also thrilled to recognize another group of outstanding student writers who will read their work in a special video premiering Sunday, February 27.”

Here is the full schedule of events:

  • Ice skating at the Ped Mall: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Book fair and book drive at Ped Mall: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • The University of Iowa Mobile Science Lab at Sidekick Coffee & Books: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays
  • Storytime with the Iowa City Public Library: 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday
  • Yoga Storytime with North Liberty Library: 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday
  • Storytime with the Coralville Public Library: 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday
  • Storytime with Katy Herbold at Sidekick Coffee & Books: 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday
  • “Home” Writing Prompt at Blackhawk Mini Park at the Ped Mall: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Book a character encounter at Blackhawk Mini Park at the Ped Mall: 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
  • Illustration workshop with Jennifer Black Reinhardt at Sidekick Coffee & Books: 2 p.m. Saturday
  • Skate with the Heartlanders and Dash: 2-3 p.m. Saturday
  • Book a character encounter at Blackhawk Mini Park at the Ped Mall: 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Saturday
  • High School Writing Jam with Chuy Renteria at the Iowa City Public Library: 2-4 p.m. Sunday

“We Are Hawkeyes” exhibit at Main UI Library

Downtown for the One Book Two Book Festival, stop by the main UI Library to check out the ongoing exhibit “We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa.”

The exhibit, located in the Library’s Main Gallery at 125 W. Washington Street, celebrates students’ experiences of user interface over the decades, revisiting rallies and protests against athletics and parties through photographs, documents and other artifacts.

“We Are Hawkeyes” encompasses the different experiences students can have through the university’s many offerings and guides visitors through the history of user interface through a student lens.

The exhibition opened on January 18 and will be available until July 3.

The Library’s Main Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and the arts at Iowa City Press-Citizen. Contact her at [email protected] or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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