In a news release from the University of Central Missouri (UCM), Jeff Murphy-Assistant Director for Media Relations and Integrated Marketing and Communications cited that cancellations of appearances by a number of out-of-state presenters who were scheduled to speak at the event has prompted the university to cancel the festival.

According to the news release from UCM:

The Children’s Literature Festival was planned for March 15-17, with 109 schools registered to bring 3,500 children in grades 3 through 10 to campus, where they would have an opportunity to meet with children’s authors and illustrators from throughout the country. Eight of the 28 invited guest speakers let the Festival Committee at the James C. Kirkpatrick Library know that they have opted not to attend, and several more expressed that their attendance was unlikely. Some cited reasons such as escalating reports of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country and its impact on air travel.

UCM deeply appreciates the many area students, teachers and their schools, the authors and illustrators, and others who help make the Children’s Literature Festival a success each year, and look forward to opportunities to host the festival in coming years.