Southern Festival of Books

MNPS Middle Schools Celebrate the Written Word with the Southern Festival of Books
Posted on 10/23/2023
Bellevue Middle students at southern festival of books.

Oliver Middle students at Southern Festival of Books

This year’s Southern Festival of Books was unique, and 500 MNPS students were all the better for it.

Every year, the festival draws high-profile authors, readers, and aspiring writers to Nashville for a weekend of literary celebration and appreciation. This year’s event included a Student Day for the first time.

Student Day brought MNPS students from 21 different middle schools to the Tennessee State Library & Archives and the Bicentennial Mall, where they met and listened to two award-winning young adult authors, Carl Hiassen and Donna Barba Higuera. 

The authors shared their journeys into writing, their own middle school experiences, and invaluable advice for aspiring young writers. The writers also discussed their latest books – “Wrecker” by Hiassen and “Alebrijes” by Higuera – and what inspired them to write them.

Bellevue Middle students

It was a day of inspiration and storytelling that left a lasting impact on students like seventh graders Ronnie Turner and Joshua King at Goodlettsville Middle School. Both students’ favorite book, “The Last Cuentista,” was written by Higuera, and they look forward to reading her newest release.

Other students, like Charlie Gregory of Head Middle and Amelia Thornhill of West End Middle, are avid readers of science fiction and horror and are excited to start the dystopian sci-fi novel “Alebrijes.”

This event was all thanks to Ann Patchett, author and owner of Parnassus Books, and Humanities Tennessee, which puts on the book festival every year. Patchett contacted Lindsey Kimery, coordinator of library services, with the idea and provided every student with a copy of each book.

“Ann Patchett reached out to me and let me know she wanted to make a donation that would run through the Parnassus Foundation,” Kimery said. “With this donation, Library Services has helped provide books and make the field trip possible. Her generosity has put books into the hands of thousands of MNPS students.”

MNPS is immensely grateful to Patchett, Humanities Tennessee, and the authors, Hiassen and Higuera, for supporting this event. The success of Student Day would not have been possible without the support of the MNPS Transportation Department and the dedicated middle school librarians who worked to arrange this enriching field trip.

The Southern Festival of Books was more than a celebration of literature; it was an opportunity for middle schoolers to embrace their creativity and continue their love of reading and learning.

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Literacy,Reading,Middle Schools