The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, along with other community leaders, realized that Abilene needed an event that would emphasize the importance our city places on families, art and literacy, as well as involve many of the great art and community organizations located in beautiful downtown Abilene.

The idea of a family friendly festival finally came to life in 2012. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) was sponsoring an exhibition of the original illustrations from “The Lorax.” This exhibit, along with “The Art of Dr. Seuss – A Retrospective” at the Center for Contemporary Arts and the Dr. Seuss Traveling Sculpture Garden, created a unique platform for a downtown festival.

With the help of local artists, cultural organizations, businesses and volunteers, the festival has become an annual event held each June during ArtWalk. Each year, the C.A.L.F. hosts a new children’s book illustrator in conjunction with the NCCIL’s summer exhibition. A portion of the proceeds from C.A.L.F. benefit the HeARTS for the ARTS program. The Junior League of Abilene partners with the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to sponsor an event or a reading and craft session at the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival. The Junior League of Abilene has historically sponsored a craft event and reading of one of the featured books.


2020 honoree: Loren Long
2019 honoree: Peter Brown
2018 honoree: Oliver Jeffers
2017 honoree: Garth Williams
2016 honoree: Mark Teague
2015 honoree: David Shannon
2014 honoree: William Joyce
2013 honoree: Walter Wick
2012 honoree: Dr. Seuss