Crowds of readers fill the atrium at Carroll Community College during the 2016 Penguin Random House Book Fair. This year's book fair takes place on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at the community college.
Crowds of readers fill the atrium at Carroll Community College during the 2016 Penguin Random House Book Fair. This year's book fair takes place on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at the community college. (Alan White / Carroll County Times)

Carroll Community College will host the 21st annual Penguin Random House Book Fair on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3.

“The fair is built on creating an awareness and passion for reading,” said Steve Wantz, executive director of the Carroll Community College Foundation.


Wantz said Babylon Great Hall will be filled with brand new books sold at 20 percent off their retail prices. More than 4,000 titles will be available and one area of the hall will be dedicated to free children’s books. The sale opens at 3 p.m. Friday.

The event kicks off with a Friday movie night, with showings of “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Theater in the Scott Center. Tickets are $4 per person.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Carroll County Public Library and A Likely Story Bookstore present author Melanie Benjamin. She will discuss her latest book “The Girls in the Picture” which focuses on the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends — screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford. Tickets are $25 and include a copy of the book, a book signing, a $5 Penguin Random House Book Fair coupon and entry into a reception with light refreshments starting at 6 p.m.

Penguin Random House hosts annual book fair in March 2017.

Carroll County Public Library’s Director of Communications Lisa Picker said Benjamin was her first choice for this year’s fair.

“We were looking for an author who our community would really love to see. “The Aviator’s Wife” is very popular in our library system,” Picker said, referring to Benjamin’s 2013 work about the woman who married famed pilot Charles Lindbergh. “We thought our readers would love to connect with her. It’s a great way to kick off the book fair. It gives folks an opportunity to connect with other literature lovers and have a great evening out.”

A silent auction will be held in conjunction with the fair. Bidding opens Thursday, March 1, at www.handbid.com/auctions/book-fair-2018 and closes at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. This year’s auction, which is filled with an abundance of family-oriented items, has a “Buy It Now” feature for people to secure their purchases early. Bidders need not be present to win and can claim their items the following week at the college.

On Saturday, the fair opens at 9 a.m. in the Babylon Great Hall and offers discounted book sales, free books for children (select books while supplies last), and a multitude of children’s activities including: a scavenger hunt, LEGO face painting, LEGO building room, hands-on STEM activities, inflatable games (some activities will require a $3 wristband), silent auction and concessions.

“Saturday is all set up for kids,” said Annette Danek-Akey, Penguin Random House’s senior vice president of fulfillment. “It’s an opportunity for you to connect with your kids and take time to teach them and invest in their learning. If you’re not sure what you want to do, do the scavenger hunt and it will help you familiarize yourself with the area.”

At 9:45 a.m. Saturday Penguin Random House author and award-winning artist Jon Burgerman will hold an interactive illustration presentation and will talk about his latest picture book, “Rhyme Crime.” Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

“I don’t think that his books are just for kids,” Danek-Akey said. “He appeals to the kids as well as adults with his art. His stories are really funny. They’ll make you laugh. He’s also going to do a little bit of mural art and you’ll be able to add to it.”

The Carroll County Public Library will host a Children’s Story Time at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Returning with great enthusiasm is the Professor Wizard’s Wonders of Science Show at 12:30 p.m. Student authors, who participated in the annual Student Writing Contest, will read their winning entries at 2:30 p.m. and the Book Fair concludes at 4 p.m.