WILLIAMSTOWN -- Three visiting authors, a costume parade and a book fair are all part of the 16th annual Words are Wonderful festival.

The week-long festival runs from today until Friday, Oct. 25 at the Williamstown Elementary School.

"We want children to develop a lifelong love of reading," Committee Chairwoman Lauren Gotlieb said Wednesday.

Parent's Choice award-winning Japanese storyteller Motoko will visit the school today, Gotlieb said, the author's second visit to the school.

"She'll come to visit all grades and do Japanese story telling," she said. "She'll also have all the kids write their own folk tales."

On Monday, Oct. 21, award-winning non-fiction author Steve Sheinkin will hold writer's workshops for grade five, eat lunch with the Berkshire Bookworms book club, and speak to fourth- and sixth-graders. The upstate-New York resident, whose book "The Notorious Benedict Arnold" won a Boston Globe/Horn Book award, is the first non-fiction author to participate in the festival.

The same day, a small number of fifth- and sixth-graders will take a field trip to community television organization Willinet's studio on Spring Street.

"Nine kids will get to go to the studio and learn about what it means to take written word and make that into a video," Gotlieb said.

Author Jana Laiz will hold an assembly for kindergarten through second-graders and hold workshops with students both Monday, Oct.


21 and Tuesday, Oct. 22. Laiz is the author of such books as "Elephants of the Tsunami," written to raise money for tsunami relief, and "The True Story of Elizabeth ‘Mumbet' Freeman, The Slave Who Won Her Freedom."

Several community members will visit classrooms to read to students on Thursday, Oct. 24, Gotlieb said, including Fire Chief Craig Pedercini.

On Friday, Oct. 25, all grades will walk to the ‘62 Center at Williams College, Gotlieb said, where the Berkshire Theater Company will perform "The Emperor's New Clothes."

Other events for children and parents include the 8th Annual Scrabble Tournament from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in the elementary school cafeteria, and a costume parade will take place at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

"For me, the most important part is having visitors come in," Gotlieb said. "It's just amazing for kids to have that one-on-one discussion with an author on why they wrote a book and how they wrote a book."

The event is organized by a team of 10 parents, Gotlieb said. Funding is made possible from the Williamstown Elementary School Endowment Fund, the Friends of the Milne Public Library, the Parent Teacher Organization, and Overland Programs.

For more information about Words are Wonderful and for a complete list of events, visit www.wordsarewonderful.org.

To reach Edward Damon, email edamon@thetranscript.com.