Pat Conroy Literary Center - Children's Book Fair

Even the slightest hint of crisp fall weather invites daydreams of curling up under a blanket with a good book. Readers of all ages are sure to find something new for their book shelf at the Children’s Book Fair hosted by the Pat Conroy Literary Center on Saturday, October 13 at Santa Elena History Center in Beaufort, SC. 

One of Pat Conroy’s passions in life was to turn every child into an avid reader, and this event is dedicated to fostering a life-long companionship with books. The day-long gathering features interactive events that include a scavenger hunt, make your own bookmark, and a mermaid conservation presentation.  Lowcountry children’s book authors will be present for workshops, book signings, and readings from 10am – 4pm.

This year’s highlighted speaker, Lisa Anne Cullen, is the author or editor of eight children’s books and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing for children and pairs this passion with her love of illustration, art, photography, and screenwriting. Cullen has won awards for her artistic and written works and finds pure joy in connecting with the natural world. Her author-illustrated, picture book folktales Little Orange Honey Hood and Three Wild Pigs are being released through the University of South Carolina Press/Young Palmetto Books spring and fall of 2018.

Melissa Conroy, a special guest of the fair, is the daughter of Pat Conroy and the author/illustrator of Poppy’s Pants, which was reissued in September.  She also wrote Grandma Is an Author and The Lowcountry Coloring Book. Melissa earned a master’s degrees in painting and textile design from the University of Georgia and Philadelphia University.

The Fair will also feature nine other children’s book authors: Rebecca Chamberlain, Nancy Raines Day, Ann Eilers Lilly, Nina Leipold, Sheri Levy, Susan Diamond Riley, Chelsea Rowe, and Helen Wilbur, one poet Miho Kinnas, and a select group of young Camp Conroy authors. There will be book readings and signings throughout the day.

Five free workshops are being offered:

10:00am-11:00am – Rebecca Chamberlain Telling Stories Through Pictures.  This workshop touches on the process of illustrating a standard 32-page picture book for children. Participants preview thumbnail sketches and original artwork from Maralee and the Turtles of the Sea as they create quick one-inch thumbnail sketches from a story idea. Discover how to develop a character and explore how to add movement, emotion, and action into illustrations. A picture book template is provided to each participant. This course is suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to experienced artist. Standard pencils and erasers are needed for this workshop.

11:00am-12:00pm– Helen Wilbur Write Your Garden. Participants work on their skills with a hands-on exercise using their five senses to build a word garden. In this session for budding writers, author Helen Wilbur shares her story of a young girl’s determination to grow her garden in Lily’s Victory Garden. With the right tools, discover how an idea as small as a seed can be nurtured to grow into a story. Young writers will build a word garden. Ages 8 and older.

1:00pm-2:00pm Susan D. Riley –Find Your Lost Treasure.  Following a reading from her soon-to-be published chapter book, The Sea Island’s Secret, participants will be sent on a treasure hunt to find previously hidden messages in bottles. Once found, the messages will be decoded to reveal their hidden meanings. Ages 8 and older.

2:00pm-3:00pm Melissa Conroy – Make Your Own Character. Following a reading from her re-issued book Poppy’s Pants, Melissa will guide participants in designing and sewing their own doll. Materials will be provided. Ages 8 and older.

3:00pm-4:00pm Miho Kinnas –Haiku Tanka, Linked Haiku, and Halibu Prose. From a Haiku to a book with audience participation, participants learn the stages of creativity and production of the poetic form of Haiku. Ages 14 and older.

This event is free and open to the public.  Santa Elena History Center is located at 1501 Bay Street in Downtown Beaufort, SC.  For more information, please visit