storymonster

Youngsters can look forward to hugs from the Story Monster and more at this year’s Payson Book Festival, July 17 — and there will be lots for adults too.

For six years Arizona Professional Writers has presented the Payson Book Festival, Inc. This year on Saturday, July 17 the festival showcases 80 Arizona authors with fiction and non-fiction books of many genres at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.

The goal of the festival is to promote literacy with a celebration of books for readers of all ages. Activities include: entertainment with cowboy poetry and songs, Kid Zone fun sessions for youngsters, and captivating author presentations.

Headliners this year are Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s State Historian, Buckshot Dot Strickland, Academy of Western Artists Female Cowboy Poet of the Year, and a panel of Grand Canyon river runners: Tom Martin, Jon Fuller, Kern Nuttall and Dave Elston, who will mesmerize with their exploits on Arizona rivers. Festival attendees will be kept entertained with poetry, music and presentations throughout the day.

A favorite with little and big kids is the lovable Story Monster, who can’t wait for hugs from young and old.

This year the Kids Zone will have hands-on activities for kids of all ages with Clifford the Big Red Dog, a children’s book character by Norman Bridwell. There will be story times, and fun activities playing with lights and shadows in an amazing array of ways.

Animals, real and imaginary, play a big role in our book selections this year. Bonnie Bohn has an owl, alligator and a raccoon in magical stories helping children with disabilities to solve mysteries.

Phoebe Fox has animal nursing mothers and babies in a bi-lingual book that won the 2020 International Latino Book award.

Discover Lucy Geringer’s wonderfully illustrated Cleo the Cat with early childhood pictures of the world of bugs. Enjoy Lucy’s series with “Cleo and Shapes and Colors, Rhymes and Times and Letters.”

Learn about wild animals of the rain forest and the orangutan through Rita Goldner’s passion for nature. Goldner hopes to instill the understanding of the endangered animals and habitats at an early age with her books for 4- to 6-year-olds.

What happens when a moose wanders into town? Find out when you read Kathie McMahon’s series about Mortimer the Moose and his adventures with Jimmy. Her books received the Royal Dragonfly award in 2020.

Rounding out the list of children’s picture books are Barbara Renner’s illustrated stories of birds. Our very own unique Sonoran Desert Gambel quail, takes center stage as the clumsy family favorite. The common loons and trumpeter swans from Minnesota fly us away as lively and colorful characters.

Authors with books of many other genres — mysteries, true crime, and stories of angels, westerns, fantasy, sci-fi, romance and non-fiction will be at the Payson Book Festival from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, July 17 at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino Hotel ballroom.

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