Mis­souri chil­dren’s book fest can­celed over coro­n­avirus fear

The Kansas City Star - - Local - BY MARÁ ROSE WIL­LIAMS md­williams@kc­star.com

More than 3,500 el­e­men­tary school chil­dren were set to con­verge on the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Mis­souri in War­rens­burg next week for the an­nual Chil­dren’s Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val, un­til, for the first time in its 52 years, the event was can­celed.

With es­ca­lat­ing re­ports of coro­n­avirus and its im­pact on air travel, eight of the 28 in­vited guest speak­ers told fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers they had opted not to at­tend, a univer­sity state­ment said. Sev­eral other sched­uled speak­ers “ex­pressed that their at­ten­dance was un­likely.”

The fes­ti­val, which gave chil­dren in grades three through 10 the op­por­tu­nity to meet chil­dren’s book authors and il­lus­tra­tors from around the coun­try, was set to run March 1517.

“Sched­ul­ing and lo­gis­tic chal­lenges posed by los­ing the guest speak­ers were con­sid­ered too sig­nif­i­cant to pro­vide the type of qual­ity event the univer­sity strives to pro­duce ev­ery year for the ben­e­fit of young Mis­souri read­ers,” the univer­sity state­ment said.

The univer­sity is not plan­ning to resched­ule the event this year.

Authors who had been sched­uled to at­tend in­cluded Kathi Ap­pelt (“The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp”), Gary Sch­midt (“Lizzie Bright and the Buck­min­ster Boy”) and Ron­ald L. Smith (“Hoodoo”).

The lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val joins many other events around the coun­try and the world can­celed due to fear of spread­ing the virus, in­clud­ing con­certs, con­fer­ences and sport­ing events.

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