The Wisconsin Book Festival, presented by Madison Public Library in partnership with Madison Public Library Foundation, presents free, public author events that celebrate books and spark conversations. Each year, the festival creates a robust schedule of accomplished and new writers whose fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books appeal to all ages of readers. The Festival presents stand-alone events throughout the year with a culminating celebration each fall. The 2022 fall celebration was held for October 13-16.

The festival is committed to presenting a mix of in-person and virtual events that are free and open to the public.

Maya spoke about her book, Reading for Our Lives, a timely, necessary tool as U.S. literacy hits critical levels. Currently, there are 43 million Americans between ages 16 to 65 who can’t read well enough to complete a job application, follow a bus schedule, understand a rental agreement or parse choices at the ballot box. Low-income kids and children of color suffer the most. READING FOR OUR LIVES offers parents from all walks a life hope and a lifeline. Smart encourages and motivates caregivers to use whatever they have of their most valuable resource – time – to set their children on the road for success.

Media coverage of Maya’s festival presentation included:
Early literacy became a ‘life’s purpose’ for Maya Payne Smart by Scott Girard, The Cap Times
From book lover to literacy advocate, Maya Payne Smart talks nurturing literacy in your child by Grace Ulch, WKOW

Maya Payne Smart is a writer, parent educator, and literacy advocate who has served on the boards of numerous library and literacy organizations. She and her family live in Milwaukee, where she serves as affiliated faculty in educational policy and leadership in the College of Education at Marquette University. Her website,, provides tips and tools for parents to nurture, teach, and advocate for kids on the road to reading.