Spokane Youth Book Festival

Mission Statement

The goal of the Spokane Youth Book Festival (SpoYo) is to celebrate the importance of books in the lives of young people. By connecting them with authors and literature that reflect cultural and global diversity and providing opportunities to engage with those authors and illustrators, SpoYo aims to nurture a love of books, promote literacy, and inspire students to see themselves as creators.


We value literature that celebrates cultural and global diversity. We value creating opportunities for students to expand their horizons through literature. We value the idea that reading is fun, exciting, and meaningful. We value the ability for children to see themselves reflected in the literature they read. We value encouraging students to engage with reading and writing themselves.


Each fall, SpoYo invites writers of local, regional, and national renown to Spokane for a two-day festival. On the first day, authors visit local schools to read stories, talk about their lives as authors, and encourage students to express themselves creatively. On the second day, the festival features a full slate of events for young people and their families to meet their favorite authors, ask questions, discover new books, play with words and illustrations, and much more.


The inaugural SpoYo will be held on October 9 & 10, 2015. For the latest updates, you can connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and our e-newsletter.


The lineup for the first annual Spokane Youth Book Festival is online now, and you can find it here! You can check out a selected reading list from our 2015 SpoYo authors here. Be sure to follow Get Lit! Programs on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on all our events!


(Most events free)

Nearly all events as part of the Spokane Youth Book Festival will be free to children and their families! It is vital to us that SpoYo be accessible to all residents of the Inland Northwest, which is why we are committed to providing as many free events as possible. Saturday, October 10th at the EWU Spokane Campus: All daytime events are free for all participants. Saturday, October 10 at the Bing Crosby Theater: Mainstage event featuring S.E. Grove, author of the Mapmaker trilogy, will be free to all youth. There will be a $5 suggested donation at the door for adults. No advance tickets are necessary.


SpoYo Festival Venues EWU Spokane Campus, Phase 1 Building 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd Spokane, WA 99202

  • Parking: There are two pay parking lots on campus near the festival, as well as two-hour street parking along much of the campus perimeter. In the pay-to-park lots, you’ll see a green kiosk to print a slip for your car. All-day parking is only $4.
  • Directions: From Auntie’s Bookstore to EWU Spokane campus: (4 minute drive/15 minute walk) – Head east on Main Avenue – Turn left onto N. Division – Turn right onto Spokane Falls Blvd. – Turn left onto N. Riverpoint Blvd. – Follow the loop east. The parking lot of the Phase 1 building will be on the right side. If you reach Spokane Falls Blvd again, you’ve gone too far.
  • Map: EWU Spokane Map (click to view/download)

Auntie’s Bookstore 402 West Main Avenue Bing Crosby Theater 901 W. Sprague Avenue Where to Stay: Red Lion Hotel at the Park 303 W North River Dr Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 326-8000 Frequently asked questions:

Will there be food available for purchase?

Yes! During the day on Saturday, October 10, the tasty and healthy Fresh Plate Café will be open on the EWU Spokane campus. The Fresh Plate specializes in healthy foods made-from-scratch using quality ingredients and supporting other local businesses. Flatbreads, panninis, sandwiches and wraps are made-to-order off the menu. A grab-and-go deli case offers packaged salads, sandwiches, desserts, drinks and more. Fresh cookies – chocolate chip, macadamia nut, peanut butter and others – are baked all day long. Main dishes and specialty salads are made earlier in the day at Fresh Plate’s commercial kitchen. The Fresh Plate Café is owned by Barb Pagarigan, who also owns The Bistro Box food truck and The Fresh Plate Market at 3818 N. Nevada St. On the evening of Saturday, October 10 at our mainstage event, the Bing Crosby Theater offers a variety of snacks and beverages for purchase.

Can we bring our own food to the daytime events on Saturday 10/10?

Yes. Feel free to bring snacks or brown bag lunches with whatever you and your family love best. There is indoor seating available, as well as limited outdoor seating at picnic tables. Depending on the weather, there is lots of grass to lay out picnic blankets, too!

Is SpoYo part of EWU? What does that mean?

The Spokane Youth Book Festival is a program of Get Lit!, which is part of EWU. Eastern Washington University provides Get Lit! with office space, computers, and the salary & benefits for one-full time staff position (Get Lit! director). We are grateful to the EWU College of Arts, Letters, and Education for that support. Beyond those crucial contributions, which have sustained the organization over the years, Get Lit! does not receive an allocated budget from the university for any programming, marketing, or supplies. All of our programs, in addition to overhead costs such as phones, copies, and office supplies, are paid for through grants, sponsorships, and individual donors, as well as festival ticket sales. We couldn’t do it without supporters like you!

How can I participate as a festival author in the next SpoYo Book Festival?

The Spokane Youth Book Festival is pleased to feature authors who live and write in the greater Northwest area. If you are a published children’s author who resides in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Northern California, or Southwestern Canada and have experience working with and presenting to K-6 students, please submit the following to Melissa Huggins, Get Lit! director, at mhuggins33@ewu.edu in the summer/early fall preceding the festival you are applying for:

  • contact information, including your website
  • a list of your publications according to genre (include material published in magazines or literary journals)
  • any prizes or awards you have received
  • your teaching experience
  • presentation ideas (workshop, storytime, etc.)

By providing this basic information, you alert us to your interest in the Spokane Youth Book Festival while providing a broad range of credentials. Each year, we choose our festival authors with the intention of raising community awareness of and support for the extensive literary talent and resources in the region.

Community Organization Exhibitors

SpoYo has partnered with a number of community organizations focused on enriching the lives of children and families, including YMCA, YWCA, Spokane Parks and Recreation, Spokane Public Library, Spokane County Library District, INK Artspace, and SNAP. They’ll be at the festival all day Saturday, spreading the word on how they support local families and doing giveaways! We thank them for their support!

Interested in sponsoring the Spokane Youth Book Festival through a monetary donation, in-kind donation, or gift of products or services? We would love to give you more information. Feel free to consult the information below or write directly to Melissa Huggins, festival director, mhuggins33@ewu.edu. Festival Event Sponsors – Underwrite a specific event or group of events – Name or company thanked by the host at your sponsored event – Name or company noted as underwriter of specific event in festival guide – Name and/or logo listed at the given sponsorship level on the Get Lit! website – Name and/or logo projected on screen at main venue(s) – VIP tickets to your sponsored event, as well as the author reception. Additional ways to support our programs and increase your investment return:


  • Make an in-kind offer of your services
  • Purchase an advertisement promoting the festival and your company’s participation
  • Hold a benefit for Get Lit! while providing community focus on your company
  • Sponsor an author dinner or festival reception before or after an event
  • Organize a committed group to volunteer at one of our events
  • Offer gift cards/company information/items for Author gift bags
  • Offer scholarships or gift cards as awards to winning contest participants

For additional information on sponsoring SpoYo or to request a sponsorship packet, email getlit@ewu.edu. Individual Donations:

  • We accept donations at any level, and we also accept donations through our Lit! Lover program. Become a Lit! Lover! Pledge between $50 and $100 and commit to getting two friends to match your donation. Join Eastern Washington University in our mission to engage the Inland Northwest community in a celebration of the written word and promote discussion of reading, writing, and storytelling at all age levels through an annual literary festival and educational outreach projects. You can donate online here.


Interested in helping behind the scenes at the Spokane Youth Book Festival? We would love to have you participate! Volunteering provides a great opportunity to meet people, enjoy yourself, and be a part of events that celebrate reading and writing. Before and during the festival, we need people to:

  • Distribute festival posters and bookmarks across Spokane
  • Help staff information tables
  • Set up and tear down book tables
  • Deliver introductions for festival authors at certain events
  • Serve as ushers and ticket takers

As a gesture of gratitude, we make sure our volunteers receive:

  • a free SpoYo t-shirt
  • a pair of tickets to the headlining author event
  • and a big round of applause!

To participate in the festival as a volunteer, please send your name, phone number, and email address to getlit@ewu.edu no later than September 25. If you are interested in volunteering in the Get Lit! programs office at other times in the year and have experience with fundraising, marketing, grant writing, event organizing, web editing, social media, etc., please mention it in your message. Thank you!


Spokesman Review-Gemeinhart among the writers coming for first-ever SpoYo

Dan Gemeinhart uses haiku in his debut novel, The Honest Truth, to delve into his character’s thoughts and feelings. >>

  • GetLit! volunteers Tony, Madeline, and Nick
  • Author Amy Sonnichsen
  • The book lineup.
  • Reading is fun!
  • So many books, so little time!
  • "Bad Kitty" author Nick Bruel chats with guests
  • Author Sherri Rinker shares "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site"
  • Bad Kitty Author Nick Bruel
  • Bad Kitty Selfie!
  • Interactive station
  • Authors Katherine Pryor and Leisl Shurtliff
  • Janelle Smith from Auntie's Bookstore
  • S.E. Grove instructs a writing workshop with students
  • Sherri Rinker's presentation for K-2
  • Book signings with some of our favorite authors!

Photos By Jeff Bunch

The Inlander- SpoYo: Spokane Youth Book Festival

The long-running Get Lit! literature festival is introducing its kid sibling, the Spokane Youth Book Festival, aka SpoYo, to the local reading community’s youngest bookworms this Saturday. >>