Whether it’s laughing at puppets on strings, climbing on sculptures in the garden, meeting live bats, or creating their own illustrations or storybook sculptures, the CALF festival offers kids a chance to step out of their usual routines and explore their imagination and creativity. Kind of like books do.
The 11th Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival brought thousands of visitors to Abilene over the weekend. The city, which is the Storybook Capital of America, hosts a jam-packed weekend of reading-fun every June. This year’s festival celebrated the work of Brian Lies.
For more than a decade Abilene has been welcoming families to town to celebrate children’s literature. The festival has grown into a four day event that incorporates everything from book readings and marionette performances to theater and even an instrument petting zoo, hosted by the Abilene Philharmonic. And it all kicks off with a parade and the unveiling of a new storybook statue, which author Brian Lies said brought out strong emotions, “To actually capture the character of the characters I created in two dimension is absolutely mind blowing. So Steve, [Neves, sculptor] thank you so much!”
Abilene has built one of the largest collections of storybook sculptures in America. Each year the CALF features the books of a children’s author, adding a new life-sized sculpture from their work to the storybook garden. The collection includes figures from the works of Dr. Suess, David Shannon and E.B. White, and many others.
This year, Brian Lies’ characters join the garden. The new sculpture depicts Evan and His Dog from The Rough Patch, one of the books children got to hear live readings of all weekend.