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Junior League World Of Reading Festival – FREE Community Event

World of Reading Festival

For 2021, the annual Junior League of Greater Lakeland World of Reading Festival has been modified as a drive-through event in a new location – First United Methodist Church on Lake Morton. Come by in your vehicle on Saturday, April 10, 2021 anytime 10am until 12:30pm to receive books, crafts, snacks, and more! Click here to learn more.

Details below are from previous in-person events.

The Junior League of Greater Lakeland will be hosting its annual World Of Reading Festival in Barnett Park Saturday, April 18, 2020 from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM.

This FREE family event is a local tradition, loved by local moms, dads, grandparents and most importantly – KIDS!

At the World of Reading Festival you’ll find crafts, kids activities, balloon artists, face painters, Jack Hartmann, snacks and drinks, and a chance to meet a Featured Author. Each child that attends the event will also receive FREE books.

Where will reading take you?” at the World of Reading Festival this year??


Children who attend the World of Reading Festival will visit various spotlight tents, which will be focused on the setting or topic of the books and will make the featured story come alive. Each tent will feature a different craft or activity for the kids to create and take home.

Once each child has completed the tent activity and received a stamp on their passport, they will select a book (first come first serve) from the Spotlight Book Tent of their favorite book of the four tents and then also will select an AR book from the Junior League book area to take home for free!

Children’s music star Jack Hartmann will also perform at the event – my kids LOVE him. I’ve even been known to sing along!

There will also be face painting and more family fun.

Guest Authors

In addition to the activities and spotlight tent book giveaways, there will be two featured authors autographing and facilitating meet and greets at the event. Jaimie Engle, author of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light, and Jennifer Swanson, author of Astronaut Aquanaut How Space Science and Sea Science Interact, will be signing books and giving away free copies of their books to the first 700 participants! They will also each be reading from their books twice during the event.

Free Books

Children who attend the World of Reading Festival have the opportunity to leave with up to 4 books! Although there will be a huge selection available at all reading levels, note that books are all first come first serve and the selection may be more limited later in the event.

Free book opportunities include:

  • When children arrive they will get to pick one book at check-in when picking up their bag (while supplies last).
  • Spotlight table – The first 700 children to complete their passport stamp card can also select one book from the spotlight table.
  • Every child who completes their passport stamp card at the activity tents will receive one free AR book from the Junior League book area.
  • The Guest Authors will have a total of 700 free copies of their books – kids will be able to select one book from a guest author while supplies last.

Every child will leave with at least one free book!

“This event has the most profound effect on children. It’s one thing to read a book, but it’s another to meet a real, live author and learn what goes into writing a book! It plants a “can-do” seed in a child’s head.” said Mandy Middleton, the event chair. “We are so very proud to present this event to our community. Anything that promotes a love of reading is a step in the right direction!”

Photos from Previous Years

Mark your calendar and make plans to bring your kids to this year’s World of Reading Festival!

About the Junior League:

The Junior League of Greater Lakeland, Inc. is committed to promoting overall wellness of body, mind, and spirit for women and children in our community, through our own community efforts and by partnering with other non-profit organizations in the Greater Lakeland area with a wellness vision.

JLGL members actively reach well over 10,000 families each year. Sustainers, members who have served the JLGL faithfully for decades, have left a proud legacy.  Together, all members continue to meet the needs of the community in unique and powerful ways. The Junior League of Greater Lakeland is open to women, age 22 and older, living in the greater Lakeland area. Any woman in the community is welcome and encouraged to fill out an application. Click here to learn more. 

Spring Activities Guide

Check out our full Spring Activities Guide for more things to do in Lakeland, Polk County, and Central Florida from January – May.