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A graphic that says Juneteenth Banned Books and Literacy Festival. The graphic includes artwork of books on a shelf.

The public is invited to celebrate inclusive storytelling at the Juneteenth Banned Books & Literacy Festival. Hosted by the Education and Civil Rights Initiative (ECRI) at the University of Kentucky College of Education, the festival takes place Friday, June 16 (virtually) and Saturday, June 17 (in-person). The Saturday sessions are designed for youth and family participation. 

“We invite community members of all ages to interact with authors, discuss the growing trend of book banning across the country, and celebrate inclusive storytelling,” said ECRI Executive Director Adrienne Dixson, Ph.D. 

Registration is free and open until capacity is reached on a first-come, first-served basis. A pizza lunch will be provided to registrants on Saturday. Sessions for the festival include: 

Friday, June 16: 

  • “Banned Books & Advocating for Inclusive Texts in K-12 Schools" panel featuring scholars focused on literacy, inclusion and belonging in schools: 10 a.m. Friday, June 16, online (Register to receive link).

Saturday, June 17: 

  • Opening keynote with Kiitan Adedeji, Lexington’s Youth Poet Laureate: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17, The Cornerstone. 

  • “Our Stories, Our Hearts: A Middle Grade & Young Adult Literature" panel featuring award-winning authors Rachel Elliott, Shawn Pryor and Mariama J. Lockington: 10:45 a.m. Saturday, June 17, The Cornerstone Esports Theatre.

  • Panelist book signing (Barnes & Noble will be on-site with books available for purchase): 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 17, The Cornerstone.

  • Banned Books READ-IN workshops facilitated by UK College of Education elementary education student teachers. The read-ins will feature a banned book and a corresponding age-appropriate activity: 1 p.m. Saturday, June 17, The Cornerstone.  

Register to attend Saturday’s sessions.  

The Education and Civil Rights Initiative at the UK College of Education works collaboratively to further education as a civil right through research, community partnerships and other innovative and responsive scholarship. For more information about the festival, contact or call 859-257-4038.