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Book Lovers Bonanza


Courtesy of David Schwartz

Heads up, bookworms: Contra Costa libraries are going all out with their first Reading Festival, May 16–18. Fifty authors who have penned everything from best-selling nonfiction to award-winning novels, mysteries, and children’s stories will read from their works and sign books at 25 community libraries.

The festival will host both well-known and emerging authors, including San Francisco’s Anita Amirrezvani, author of The Blood of Flowers, a novel about the lives of 17th-century women in Iran. Then, there’s Berkeley’s Elizabeth Rosner, daughter of Jewish holocaust survivors and author of Blue Nude. Rosner’s novel was inspired by a project that brings second-generation Germans and Jews together to discuss their shared legacies from World War II.

Other authors include mystery writer Cara Black from Noe Valley, a former preschool teacher who wrote her first novel when she was in her forties; Peggy Orenstein, whose Waiting for Daisy describes both her doubts about and determination to become a mother; and former Berkeley resident Greg Mortenson, whose best-selling Three Cups of Tea chronicles his efforts to build schools in the wildest parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

For the kids, award-winning participants include Where in the Wild? author David Schwartz (pictured above), sibling writing and illustrating team Robert San Souci and Daniel San Souci (The Legend of Scarface: A Blackfeet Indian Tale), and illustrator Yuyi Morales (Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez). Teens will want to check out readings by Frank Portman (King Dork) and mystery writer Penny Warner (Dead Body Language).

For more information about the Contra Costa Library Reading Festival, go to

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