The Storybook Parade marches into the children's area during the 2017 Tucson Festival of Books. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

There are so many events for kids at the Tucson Festival of Books this year.

From meeting their favorite storybook characters to watching a volcano erupt, there's something for everyone in the family. 

TFOB, as we like to call it, runs this weekend, March 2-3 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It's a huge Tucson event, drawing more than 100,000 people. If you need more tips on how to navigate the festival, check out Johanna Willett's story here

We've listed several family-focused events here, but check the schedule for more. There are youth symphony performances, storytimes and chances to read with dogs.

There are also panel discussions with authors of young adult and children's books, dance performances and tours. 

Find a full schedule here

Cool arts and crafts

Howard Yoffe, an instructor at The Drawing Studio, gives Armando Zuniga, 13, his free pencil sketch portrait.

  • I got it! Celebrating your accomplishments: Inspired by David Wiesner's book "I Got It", children will create their very own baseball mitt and draw or write about what they've accomplished on Saturday, March 2 from 2-4 p.m. in the Book Nook Activity Tent. 
  • Mermaids and Pearls: If you love mermaids and pearls, head to the Book Nook Activity Tent on Sunday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to noon to hear Molly Idle's new book "Pearl" while you create pearl rings. 
  • How did you get your name? Make a name bracelet while  you learn about what your name means and how you got it. You'll also listen to the book "Alma and How She Got Her Name" by Juana Martinez-Neal. This event takes place Sunday, March 3, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Book Nook Activity Tent.

Fun shows

Ananda Reilly hops on a unicycle while jump-roping in a performance with the Lindley Lopez Circus. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

  • More to the Story Entertainment brings princesses, princes, fairies, heroes and villains to entertain children at parties. They will perform a story that includes audience participation, education disguised as fun, comedy and magic. This show will focus on the different parts that make up each person's story. See it Saturday, March 2, 1 p.m. at the Children's Entertainment & Storytelling stage. 
  • Cirque de Aladdin: The Lindley Lopez Literary Circus performs literary masterpieces as a Cirque du Soleil-style circus. Watch the performance on Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Circus Stage. 
  • Puppets & Poetry: Shakespeare and the Talking Skull is a one-woman interactive puppet show with a Shakespeare puppet performed by Jeanne Missey Osgood. See it Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. in the Canyon, which is the space between the UA BookStore and the Student Union. 


Isla Pickard, 4, watches as she launches a rocket into the air after jumping on a plastic bottle during the 10th annual Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona on Mar. 11, 2018. Her mother, Jen, was behind her documenting the event at the Science City Experience. An estimated 130,000 attended the two-day event featuring hundreds of authors and book lovers of all ages. Activities included an opportunity to listen to writers, attend workshops and participate in a variety of demonstrations. A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

  • Science City is a must for adults and children. You'll be able to visit five diverse science neighborhoods including Science of the Natural World, Science of Tomorrow, Science of You, Science in Art and Science of Food. Each neighborhood features interactive exhibits, performances and demonstrations. You can hold bugs, look at brains and do experiments. Science City is open Saturday-Sunday, March 2-3 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Volcano eruption! Take a seat in the volcano area of Science City and watch a volcano erupt right here in Tucson. See it Saturday-Sunday, March 2-3 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. both days.

Character meet and greets

Character visits put smiles on everyone's faces during the 2017 Tucson Festival of Books. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

  • The Storybook Character Parade kicks off book festival weekend for kids. There will be live storybook characters and a parade with singers and youth mariachi players. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2 in the Canyon, which is in front of the UA Bookstore in the walkway between the store and the Student Union. The parade will head east to the education building, ending at the children's area at about 9:50 a.m. Go here for more info.
  • Pete the Cat, everybody's favorite feline, will hang out with the children Saturday, March 2 from 10-10:30 a.m. in the Story Blanket Tent.
  • Madeline will meet and greet kiddos Sunday, March 3, 3:30-4 p.m. in the Story Blanket Tent.
  • Ladybug Girl will be in the Story Blanket Tent Saturday, March 2, from 4:30-5 p.m. 

Local celebrities

Mr. Nature, otherwise known as Anthony Marc Aldinger, entertains the younger crowd with song and dance. Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

Adam Rex, a Tucson-based author and illustrator will present from his newest book "Are You Scared of Darth Vadar?" You might know Rex from his other books including "Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich" and "Chu's First Day of School." Catch him Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. at the Story Blanket Tent. 

Mr. Nature's Music Garden, which hosts playgroups that teach kindness, compassion and mindfulness through song, dance, interactive music, instrument fun, storytelling and art. He'll be at the Children's Entertainment & Storytelling Stage Sunday, March 3 at 11 a.m. 

Speaking of Mr. Nature, he'll be performing on the Sun Link streetcar Sunday, March 3, as families travel to the book festival. Performances will begin at 9:30 a.m. starting at the Avenida del Convento and Congress streetcar station. Mr. Nature will exit at the Second Street and Cherry stop and walk to the festival. You can also attend a meet and greet with Mr. Nature at noon at booth #228A. 

Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson