Nancy Cory Elementary to Welcome Sonia Nazario and Other Authors During Book Festival on April 13, 2024

Celebrating a love of reading with the community

In an exciting celebration of literature and community spirit, Nancy Cory Elementary School in Lancaster is thrilled to announce the upcoming “Read Across America Community Book Festival,” on Saturday, April 13, 2024 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

Open to the public, the free community event will welcome nearly a dozen authors including keynote speaker Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of “Enrique’s Journey”; Sarah Mylnowski, NYT and USA Today best-selling author of over 50 books for kids, teens and adults; and John McFarlane, animator and illustrator for Disney, The Simpsons and Looney Tunes.

“We are excited to host the ‘Read Across America Community Book Festival’ at Nancy Cory Elementary School. This event not only celebrates reading but also brings together our community to engage with authors and their works. Our goal is to inspire a love for reading in our students and the community, and we believe this event will do just that,” said Shirleen Armstrong-King, Assistant Principal at Nancy Cory Elementary School.

The all-ages event will take place at Nancy Cory Elementary School’s side lawn (adjacent to the Kindergarten classrooms) located at 3540 West Avenue K-4 Lancaster, CA 93536.


Attendees will have an opportunity to engage in personal interactions with celebrated authors and illustrators, participate in book readings and signature opportunities; enjoy family-friendly activities such as a scavenger hunt (see attached schedule), storytelling sessions, and arts and crafts; take an opportunity to explore a healthy living activation with health & wellness vendors on-site and savor a variety of menu options from a selection of food trucks. The first 200 guests will receive swag bags and a copy of a special edition Mommy in Los Angeles Magazine.


The “Read Across America Community Book Festival” offers an unparalleled chance for community members to engage with literary masters, promoting the joy and importance of reading amongst all ages. The selected group of authors and illustrators will be at the event. They have made a significant impact through their work on crucial societal topics, igniting inspirations across generations:

Sonia Nazario

An award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of the country’s, most intractable problems– hunger, drug addiction, immigration and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. She is best known for Enrique’s Journey the story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, Enrique’s Journey won the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 2003. Her coverage was turned into a book by Random House, and became a national best seller.

Monica Mancillas

Her work includes award-winning title, Mariana, and her Familia (Balzer + Bray), The Worry Balloon (Roaring Brook Press), How to Speak in Spanglish (Penguin Workshop); Sing It Like Celia (Penguin 2024), and Leyendas/Legends (Chronicle, 2025). Mancillas focuses on themes of identity, culture and mental health, while challenging those outdated tropes that have historically left Latin voices in the margins.

Nadine Luke

An educator, published author and educational consultant in Southern California, Nadine intentionally writes books that reflect children of all backgrounds and specifically children of color. Her books remind children that there are no limits to their dreams in life, regardless of the color of their skin or socio-economic background. Through her books, she encourages readers to embrace who they are, believe in their gifts, and aspire to achieve greatness.

Kelly Ann Miller

An experienced educator, published author and ballroom dance instructor, she writes books to help children work their way through the challenges that they face and encourages them to be environmentally conscious. Her book, Family is Family offers children strategies to deal with divorce, foster care, and every day troubles. She wrote Blue Whale’s Journey: A Little Peak Inside to teach children more about science, (her favorite subject) and what they can do to help take care of the earth and its animals.

Linda Forte

She grew up loving to read, write and listen to her grandmother’s stories about her spunky father and uncles. When her grandmother passed away, Linda became the storyteller in her family. As a teacher for 28 years, she specializes in building reading and writing skills for students from 1st through 9th grade. She writes books about African-American history based on true events.

Sarah Mylnowski

She is a New York Times and USA Today, best-selling author and co-author of over 50 books for kids, tweens and adults, including the Whatever After series, the Magic in Manhattan series, the Best Wishes series and the Upside-Down Magic series which was adapted into a Disney Channel movie. Originally from Montreal, Sara now lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Felix Mayerhofer

He was born in 1930 in Port Chester, New York. The youngest of seven children, when Felix turned 18, he left for the big city to attend Juliard School of Music and became a professional trombonist. His career included playing in prestigious bands, such as Fred Waring and the Pennsylvania among countless other famous big bands. He served in the 552nd United States Air Force Band during the Korean War. At the end of the war, he enrolled in Potsdam Teachers College and went back to his professional music career after graduating. Since then, he’s written over half a dozen books.

Pseudonymous Bosch

The elusive author has a passionate love of chocolate and cheese, and an equally passionate hatred of mayonnaise. Rumors of Boschian sightings are just as frequent and about as reliable as reports of alien abductions. If you ever meet anyone claiming to be pseudonymous, he is almost certainly an imposter, especially if his name is Raphael Simon.

Phillip A. Brown

His first foraying into authorship is a story centered in this Alabama history and is an extension of his nonprofit work “Passing the Torch” of civic engagement to America’s youth. Phil’s goal, as an author is to capture the attention of the reader by pulling them into Olivia‘s Journey to find her father, (who didn’t come back home from the Vietnam war)— while teaching the reader about history.

Peyton Jones

Growing up, Peyton was always brimming with creativity and imagination. At the tender age of 10, Peyton embarked on her journey as a storyteller when she attended a summer camp, where her teacher ignited her passion for writing by challenging the students to craft their own tales. And thus the adventures of Mimi Peyton were born.

Shane Pangburn

Shane grew up in rural Illinois and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and child. He produces YALLWEST, the nation’s largest youth literary festival. His illustrations and cartoons have appeared in The Daily Dot.

John McFarlane

An animator by trade, McFarlane has never been without pen and imagination. He has collaborated with Felix Mayerhofer on his published books Horace the Great Harmonica King, Wobbly Bags A Thief, Guitar Cowboy, and The Three Little Godfathers, reading his stories, and translating those into illustrations. He is a Simpsons animator and has also worked for Disney and Steven Spielberg. His movie credits include the Princess and the Frog; Looney Tunes Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas; The Road to El Dorado; The Prince of Egypt, and Space Jam, among others.

For more information contact Nancy Cory Elementary School.

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