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Abilene Proclaimed 'Storybook Capital of Texas'

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In between the costume contest and parade that kick-off the 2015 Children’s Art & Literacy Festival Thursday, State Rep. Susan King will announce that Abilene has been designated the “Storybook Capital of Texas.”

Executive Director of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, Lynn Barnett, said three big pieces came together that allowed the first legislative designation for Abilene.

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene is the biggest reason for the designation. 

“That’s a year round wonderful opportunity for people to go and see the most outstanding illustrations being done,” Barnett said. “To have that resource and to have that museum in a town like Abilene, Texas, here in West Texas is just sort of phenomenal.”

The twenty-three sculptures of children’s book characters on permanent display downtown make up the second big piece. And the final part that contributes to the designation is the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival.

The fourth annual CALF kicks off this week featuring Children’s book illustrator and author David Shannon. There will be daily readings of nine Shannon books, starting with a reading at the NCCIL where his illustrations are on exhibit.

“The heart of our festival is the exhibition at the NICIL and then the readings,” Barnett said. “We want to get kids excited about reading we want them to want the books, we want their parents to be badgered into reading to them every single night because if they're excited about reading, they're likely going to get a good education.”

Five thousand people are expected to attend this year’s CALF in Abilene, the “Storybook Capital of Texas.”