‘Get Lit’: Coral Glades High’s inaugural book festival bringing in award-winning authors

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With over a dozen authors set to make appearances, the Coral Glades High School Battle of the Books student organization will have its first “Get Lit! Book Fest” on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The book festival, which will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Coral Glades High, 2700 Sportsplex Drive, in Coral Springs, will include a day of individual writing and illustration workshops, as well as author-led panel discussions and book signings.

Some of the topics that will be discussed include self-publishing in contrast to traditional publishing, writing realistic fiction, illustrating children’s books, diversity in children’s literature, writing horror fiction and how to create fantasy worlds, among other topics.

The student-organized book festival is open to everyone and will be selling tickets for $20 to benefit the Coral Glades High School Battle of the Books club.

“The kids actually selected [the authors],” said Kerry O’Malley Cerra, media specialist at Coral Glades High and a children’s book author. “I put out a list of all the ones that I knew locally who would probably be interested in doing it. I showed the kids their websites and what kind of books they write. They pretty much did all the work. They hosted an online meeting with the authors and explained what it was. Told them they were hoping they would say yes, and the authors did. It’s been a lot of work, no lie, but we’re pretty excited about it.”

Made possible by a grant from Broward County Public Schools, Coral Glades High will be host to an array of authors, including Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award-winning author and illustrator Fred Koehler.

Other authors set to attend are Alex Flinn, Stacie Ramey, Gaby Triana, Sherri Winston, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Ed Masessa, Jill Mackenzie, Sarah McGuire, Shel Delisle, Vivi Barnes, Curtis Sponsler, Christina Farley and Kristina Miranda.

Centered on improving writing skills, the authors will also be going over critiques sent in by students.

“The thing that excites me the most is that I am able to meet best-selling authors and learn how to build a foundation in the writing community from them,” said Battle of the Books team captain Liana. “People should come because they will be able to understand how authors created their favorite characters and receive encouragement to continue or start a writing journey.”

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The funds collected during the book festival will help the Coral Glades High Battle of the Books club sponsor a three-day trip to New York City for the members. The trip will feature a tour of different publishing houses along with meet-and-greets with publishing agents.

“Organizing the ‘Get Lit! Book Festival’ is the highlight of my senior year,” Battle of the Books festival organizer Amaia said. “There is such a zealous feel surrounding the event, and I find myself thrilled to be in the presence of these innovative minds. The enthusiasm from the authors has been super encouraging, and I can’t wait to meet them.”

In addition, the locally-owned bookstore Books and Books will be in attendance, selling books to help raise money for the student organization.

Battle of the Books, a reading incentive program, tests the book knowledge of students in a competition-style format. Students are asked to read books on the Sunshine State Young Readers Awards and Florida Teens Read lists.

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