The National Book Festival features books by award winning authors, which are displayed for both children and adults. In addition to this, there are a number of activities including, storytelling, and exhibits from the Library of Congress and promotional organizations, and musical performances. Hosted by Laura Bush and maintained by the Library of Congress, the festival gathers over 80 award winning authors and poets that perform in such genres as mysteries and thrillers, fiction and fantasy, children and teenagers, history and biography, home and family and poetry. The pavilion of the Library of Congress is opened to all visitors, providing them the opportunity to learn about the Veterans History Project and to explore the library's web-site. The pavilion of the states features representatives from all over the country with current information about literacy programs and local reading programs. The visitors at the festival get a chance to meet their favorite authors and pick up a copy of the festival's poster illustrated by Jerry Pinkley.
The national book festival held on September,24th, 2005 was the fifth one and was held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. attracted more than 100,000 people from Washington D.C. and from around the country. 75 award winning writers, illustrators, and poets joined in the festival this year. The highlights of the festival included such authors as: Neil Gaiman, David McCullough, Linda Sue Park, John Irving, Thomas Friedman, R.L. Stine, Sue Monk Kidd, and Giada De Laurentiis ; NBA stars, Baron Davis and Dikimbe Mutombo ; the television news journalist, Leeza Gibbons; and television host and celebrity home designer, Chris Madden. The Library of Congress' Center for the Book a contest called Late Letters about Literature. It encourages young writers to write letters to the authors who have inspired them in positive ways. The Library of Congress has also established a relationship with First Book, a non-profit organization that aims at providing new books for children nationwide. The organization's Book Relief Effort distributed almost five million books to those people whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
The national book festival has a variety of interactive and educational games in the Kids Zone. This year the festival featured approximately 100,000 bookmarks. It was made possible with the effort and the support of charter sponsors AT&T, the Washington Post, and the Amid Group, and contributors Half Price Books, Barnes and Noble, NBA/WNBA, Educate Incorporated, and Scholastic and Penguin Books. Each year the festival attracts a great number of people who are interested in the tradition of literacy in all of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and other United States territories. The festival is a great opportunity for family and friends to share the creations of some of the celebrated authors in the United States. The national book festival is held under Mrs. Bush's guidance along with the Texas Book Festival, which was established in 1995, and is held annually on October 30-31 in Texas.