How to Balance ‘Kid Fun’ and ‘Mom Fun’ at the SA Book Festival

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Alfonso reads a book during the morning activity. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / Rivard Report

The San Antonio Book Festival will feature children's authors and many kid-friendly options.

As the mother of two boys, ages 4 and 6, I get to do a lot of fun things, but most often they are what my boys like to call “kid fun.” Kid fun consists of trips to the zoo, the DoSeum, parks where they can swing and run around, or trips to the library where they can play and pick out books – though I rarely get the chance to check out anything for myself.

The San Antonio Book Festival, however, is something that can be fun for the whole family. The best part is, I can tell the boys that it is “kid fun” and that they can get new books, while I’m secretly plotting and planning for some “mom fun” too. When we head to the festival on April 8, our day could look something like this:

9 a.m.: As many parents do, I try to feed my boys a nutritious breakfast. There are times, however, when words like “healthy” and “balanced” get tossed out the window, and the book festival will likely be one of them. Our first stop after making our way onto the grounds will be to seek out breakfast at The Art of Donut. After the guilty pleasure of donuts for breakfast (I’ll go to the gym the next day…), we will head to the Barnes & Noble tent to buy the books we want signed before the event gets too busy.

10 a.m.: Books in hand, the boys and I will go to the Holt Family Children’s Tent to see Steven Weinberg, author of You Must Be This Tall. The boys should relate to the book since they take after me and are shorter than most of their peers. Being fearless adventurers, I often have to break the bad news that they are too short to go on most amusement park rides.

Anyone with kids will know that 4- and 6-year-olds quickly get bored and restless when they are in one place for too long. To combat that, we will break up time spent at the children’s tent with hands-on activities, courtesy of the DoSeum.

11:20 a.m.: We will head back to the children’s tent for a performance of The Three Javelinas by the Magik Theatre. I know the boys will enjoy this since they often threaten to huff and puff and blow doors down when I tell them they have to stay out of certain rooms in the house.

After that, it will certainly be lunch time. With so many great food truck choices, I have no doubt that the boys and I will find something we love. They love Cheesy Jane’s and can gorge themselves on hamburgers, while I can get something with an Asian twist from Sir-Wacha.

Noon: Maybe it will be a quick lunch, maybe not. With kids, it is always hard to tell. After we eat, I will try to wrangle them into going to Geektown HQ with me for a little “mom fun” in the form of Love Among the Ruins with Siobhan Vivian. I have not yet read her books, but I want to. It is a professional interest, really. Seeing as I will soon be teaching teenagers, I want to start reading more young adult literature. What better place to start than by meeting a young adult author at the San Antonio Book Festival?

1 p.m.: We’re off to another tent: This time we’re checking out Better Baking with Genevieve Ko at the Central Market Cooking Tent. I love to bake, and my boys love to eat what I bake. They also love to help me in the kitchen, so hopefully this tent will show us a good time and teach us something new to try at home.

After the cooking tent, the boys will probably need a break. Maybe we will make puppets with San Antonio Youth Literacy or create dot art with the San Antonio Museum of Art. We could always head back to the Barnes & Noble tent for more books or to meet children’s book characters who will be there.

2:15 p.m.: Back to the children’s tent we go, this time for some fun with René Colato Laínez, author of Mamá the Alien, and ¡Vámonos! Let’s Go! As a mom and resident of San Antonio, a city with a rich, multicultural history, I find it important to expose my sons to stories that show children from different families and backgrounds than their own.

3:35 p.m.: We are still in the Holt Family Children’s Tent. Have I mentioned I have two boys? What do nearly all small boys love that happens to be extinct? You guessed it: dinosaurs. If anything should score me cool mom points, it will be taking them to William Joyce’s talk on Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with Family Lazardo!

Having Joyce sign their books will likely round out our day, but if we have enough energy left for another stop at the donut truck or the Barnes & Noble tent, there might be room for one more little treat. I’ll likely encourage the latter, because let’s face it, there is no such thing as having too many books. Hopefully the boys will go home happy and worn out, and bedtime won’t be a battle of wills but a good end to a day of great fun and books.

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