Building Community: Books in Bloom 2023

The stages at Marlow and Azlon Plaza came alive on May 13th, 2023 for the seventh edition of Books in Bloom. This free event brought visitors of all ages to Merriweather District’s Color Burst Park for an interactive day of family fun and meaningful dialogue around this year’s theme: “Building Community – Through Empathy and Understanding Each Other.”

Headliners Chasten Buttigieg and Nikki Giovanni drew large crowds to Downtown Columbia where they discussed recent works. Giovanni, an acclaimed poet and influential member of the Black Arts Movement, most recently wrote a picture book called “A Library” about the magic of public libraries. During her time on stage, she read selections of her work and discussed both children’s literature and social issues. Buttigieg, a teacher and husband of Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg shared from the young-adult adaptation of his 2020 memoir, “I Have Something To Tell You” shared from his personal experiences and addressed LGBTQ+ issues today.

A banned books panel featured representatives from Busboys & Poets, Howard County Library System and Howard County Public School System, moderated by Howard County Council Member Christiana Rigby. The panel delivered eye-opening and thought-provoking insights to the full room under the tent at Color Burst Park.

Dozens of other authors were also represented at the progressive literary festival. Visitors were welcomed to book signings and interviews featuring authors of murder mystery trilogies to a history of misogyny against women in power. Authors included Emily Barth Isler, Aiden Thomas, Tae Keller, Efrén C. Olivares, Chrissy King and more.

Many thanks to our visitors, friends, and families who spent the day in Merriweather District enjoying Books in Bloom.

Next Up: Merriweather District’s Summer Series. Check the event calendar for more information!