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From authors to gourmet food trucks
The winning entries in the 2013 Great Valley Bookfest contest were, from left, Anya Mil, a first grader at Stocktons Annunciation School; Meghan Rivas, a seventh grader at Mantecas St. Anthonys School; and Marni Matuska, a fifth grader at Mantecas St. Anthonys School. - photo by Art work contributed


• WHAT: 2nd annual Great Valley Bookfest
• WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• WHERE: The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, Bass Pro Shop, 120 Bypass & Union Road
• COST: Free
• MORE INFO: Go to

The Great Valley Bookfest is bringing everything from nearly four dozen authors to gourmet food trucks to Manteca’s Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley along the 120 Bypass on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The free event includes six stages featuring authors providing presentations, new and used booksellers, a self-publishing seminar, a writer’s workshop, cooking demonstrations, slam poetry performances, costume parade, arts and crafts, and gourmet food trucks.

The second annual event takes place around the lake across from Bass Pro Shops.

The bookfest conducted a bookmark contest that attracted more than 600 entries. The winning three bookmarks and all other entries that were submitted will be on display at the bookfest.

The following are profiles on the three winning bookmark contest artists:

Meghan Rivas

Daily journal writing in Mr. Anthony Varni’s class at St. Anthony’s Catholic School is a favorite for Meghan Rivas who is now in the eighth grade.  She was one of the Bookmarks’ winners in the Great Valley Bookfest competition during her last semester.

She is currently reading “The Fault in Our Stars” and continually reads one book a month both in class and at home.  “I love to read,” she said.  Meghan plans to attend St. Mary’s High School in Stockton next year where her brother is currently a senior.  College plans – well, that’s either at Pepperdine or Malibu State in Southern California, four years in her future.

“The Lion Games” and “The Hunger Games Series” are two of her reading favorites.

She said she hadn’t been a very good reader, she said, until she was really encouraged by her fourth grade teacher Francene Simmons who made it easy and is now at Presentation School in Stockton.  The eighth grader volunteers at lunch time in the cafeteria and is the current treasurer for her class on the Student Council.  Meghan has also volunteered in the past at the St. Anthony’s Day Care to help with the younger children.  

Supporting her love for education and for reading in particular are her parents Troy and Tonya both in the medical field.

Anya Mil

Anya Mil was just a first grader last semester when she placed first in her age group in the Bookmarks Contest of the Great Valley Bookfest celebration from Annunciation Elementary School in Stockton.

Having recently moved to Oregon with her parents, the 7-year-old said she started reading when she was just one year old – just a baby, she said.  Anya has a very advanced vocabulary for her seven years.

“I would like to become a doctor – a veterinarian – and I’d like to marry one,” she said in a telephone interview one afternoon last week.  She loves Charlie Brown books and books about dogs, she said.

She said it all began with her reading “Busy Bears” at home with her dad, Ron, who is an occupational therapist in Oregon.  

“I like to read and to draw horses, air balloons and anything I can see in my imagination,” she added.  “My mom reads to me, but my dad reads the most after his work.”

Anya stays at her mom’s side in the kitchen helping to make cookies, brownies and apple pies.  Her mother Dilanie said she is a big help in keeping her four-year-old brother Aven occupied.  “I couldn’t manage without her.  She keeps him in line,” she chuckled.

Marni Matuska

It’s not just a love for reading that has underscored Marni Matuska’s passion for books but mainly her ability to “visualize” the characters that helped her take first place in the Bookmark competition in the Great Valley Bookfest.  She says she always uses her imagination and puts a face to the people in the stories she reads at school and at home.

“I make out what the people look like and what they are doing,” she quipped.  She also enjoyed the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” last year and its associated cartoons, along with “The Ugly Truth.”

A sixth grader at St. Anthony’s Catholic School this year, she won the first place honors during the last semester when she was in the fifth grade and entered the contest at school.

Two of her favorite books are “Follow My Leader” and “The Warriors.”  She said she likes reading because she feels like she is in her own world and is expanding her knowledge.  Marni has been encouraged by her parents Anthony and Elizabeth.  Her dad is a police officer and her mom is a nurse.

As for her hobbies, she likes to draw and play recreation softball where she plays either first base, second or shortstop positions.  She has a younger sister Danika, 8, who also attends St. Anthony’s.