Illinois Center for the Book

National Book Festival

The Illinois Center for the Book participates with other state center affiliates at the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival, which has become one of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. The festival is funded by private donors and corporate sponsors who share the Library of Congress's commitment to reading and literacy.

Each year for the event, the Illinois Center for the Book recognizes the latest recipient of the Illinois Reading Council's Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children, by including the author’s work in 52 Great Reads – a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands that is distributed during the Festival. The 52 Great Reads posters linked to below were prepared by the Library of Congress and its affiliate state partners. You may also use an interactive map to view suggested book titles for each state and U.S. Territory.

The Prairie State Award for Excellence in Writing for Children is given annually by the Illinois Reading Council to an Illinois children’s or young adult author whose body of work demonstrates excellence, engenders a love of literature, and promotes lifelong literacy.