Star-studded kids stage returns Printers Row Lit fest

When book collectors and bibliophiles of all stripes descend on historic Printers Row this weekend, the event’s organizers are hoping to instill that same love of literature in Chicago’s younger set.

The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest will again include a Little Lit Stage, hosted by Chicago’s own Storybook Mom, Nili Yelin, who says the annual fest is her favorite event of the year.

“Everywhere you look, it’s just books, books, books, and it’s so accessible for kids,” she says. “I get to meet all these authors whose works I adore and I get to watch kids appreciate reading.”

The Little Lit Stage is sponsored by Broadway in Chicago’s “Peter Pan,” and includes a star-studded lineup in the world of children’s entertainment.

Headlining the stage is Justin Roberts, who will perform two shows each day (Saturday at 10:30 and 3:30, Sunday at 11:45 and 2:45). Roberts has already played to sold-out crowds in Chicago this year, and Liyen says he’s always the biggest draw, so stake out a spot early.

The entertainment begins Saturday at 10:30 with the Peter Pan pirate band, joined by Lyle, Lyle Crocodile from in costume. Other highlights include readings from Amy Krouse Rosenthal (, a Chicago resident and New York Times bestselling children’s author (Little Pea, LIttle Hoot, Little Oink series), and Adam Rubin, author of “Those Darn Squirrels.”

“You really can have contact with the performers and the authors,” Liyen says. “Most of them sit down right near the crowd and want to be right there with the kids.”

Find a full schedule of events at the event’s website.

Rumor has it Mayor Rahm Emanuel may make a surprise visit for the “Chicago’s Largest Read” event, Saturday at 1:30, when the entire festival takes a book break.

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