BROOKSVILLE — When Michael Sampson first met acclaimed children's author Bill Martin Jr. in 1978, the two quickly became friends and collaborators. During the next 25 years, the two penned numerous children's books, including favorites such as Chica Chicka 1, 2, 3; Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?; Swish, and Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?
On his own, Sampson has authored books such as The Football That Won and Star of the Circus, which was written after watching his son's kindergarten circus.
Local children and adults will be able to listen to and meet the New York Times bestselling author of 30 children's books on Saturday at the Hernando County Reading Festival at Nature Coast Technical High School. Sampson will give presentations at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m., with a book signing to follow.
The family event will feature other children's authors, Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure, face painting, food and games. The first 300 children to arrive will receive goody bags.
Children will also be entertained by Windell Campbell, a teacher and storyteller who performs around the Tampa Bay area. Campbell is a familiar face to Hernando children, known for his tall tales and folk stories about heroes, using puppetry and other props to captivate his audiences.
There will also be character appearances by St. Petersburg Times mascot Spot the News Hound, the Chick-fil-A Cow and the Cat in the Hat.
The event is presented by HEART Literacy, the Hernando County Public Library System, the Brooksville Rotary Club and the Friends of the Library of Hernando County.