Three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner will be among 13 acclaimed authors and illustrators who'll talk about their books with fans and sign autographs on Friday, Oct. 13.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect location for a display of works by author and illustrator David Wiesner. 

PROVIDENCE — It wasn’t until his senior year at the Rhode Island School of Design that artist David Wiesner found his footing as an illustrator of picture books.

Three Caldecott Medals later, he’s now one of the rock stars of children’s literature and among 13 acclaimed authors and illustrators coming to the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors, held annually at the Lincoln School.

People of all ages — parents, educators, librarians — take an interest in the festival, says Meagan Lenihan, the lower school librarian who has coordinated the event for 14 years. But it’s young readers who are the super fans.

“The authors are like rock stars to children who are excited to meet the person behind that hardcover book,” she says.

All the authors and illustrators give 30-minute presentations about their work, life and philosophy. (Find the schedule at lincolnschool.org.) There also is a signing room where patrons can get up to three books autographed, a bookstore, and for aspiring authors and illustrators, short fiction writing workshops and bookmaking crafts.

Book-friendly organizations hosting displays include the Rhode Island Center for the Book, the Providence Athenaeum, and Latino Arts, which is showcasing a 2018 picture book called “Dreamers,” based on author Yuyi Morales' experience of leaving Mexico for a new home in the United States. Morales, who will be at the festival, is the first Latina to receive the Caldecott Medal, which since 1938 has been honoring the previous year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children.”

The festival also features a unique collaboration with the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre and Grammy Award-winning Rhode Island author and entertainer Bill Harley. The theater’s education department has adapted Harley’s book “Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome” into a stage production that will be performed the evening before the festival opens. It’s a humorous and thoughtful tale of fourth-grader Charlie, whose dreams of starring as the Evil Sorcerer in the class play are dashed when he is cast as the Nice Gnome.

Although the show is under way at The Gamm’s new Warwick venue, “This is the Providence premiere, and it will be a red-carpet event,” Lenihan says, with an actual red carpet where Harley and the show’s adult actors will pose with patrons for celebrity photos and stay for a question-and-answer session.

As one of this year’s authors and illustrators, Kevin Henkes notes, “Books are often the first exposure to art that children have,” and that might come from graphic novels like those of Kazu Kibuishi, a Japanese-American author and illustrator who also will be at the festival.

Wiesner remembers loving comic books as a youngster “although at that time they were not as hip, edgy and cool as they have become.” He also loved to draw.

“It was what people knew me for,” he says, “and I don’t know of a time when that wasn’t true.

“I had no idea where that was going to lead me,” he says, but in 1974, when it was time for college, “I knew I wanted to go someplace where I could paint and draw.” That was RISD.

“I took lot of classes with David Macaulay,” the multi-award-winning author-illustrator of “Cathedral” and “The Way Things Work,” whom he cites as a “big influence and mentor.” But it wasn’t until he took a class on children’s books that he saw where his interest in illustration and storytelling meshed.

“When an editor responded to the first book I was proposing, it was not a typical book. I didn’t know that,” Wiesner says. “Free Fall” is about a boy falling asleep and dreaming of dragons, castles and a far-away land — but it is wordless, and that’s largely the path Wiesner has followed since.

Although he recognizes that his “core audience” is children, he says, “A wide age responds. I have to be clear what’s happening, but I don’t ‘dumb it down’.” There is an exhibit of his work, “Journeys in Visual Storytelling,” on display through Oct. 13 at ISB Gallery 55 Canal Walk.

This is the fourth time Wiesner has taken part in the festival. “The first one was in 1989, just after that first book came out. I was an unknown. There was David Macaulay, Lois Lowry, Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg” — the rock stars of the time — “and me.”

Now he’s one of the stars in a group that includes, in addition to those mentioned, Leslie Connor, Laura Dronzek, Susan Hood, Kelly Murphy, Gloria Jean and Jerry Pinkney, Gary Schmidt and Rosemary Wells. In addition, Cathryn Mercier, a Simmons University professor, will interview some of the authors, and Susannah Richards, a University of Connecticut professor, will give a presentation about the best books of the year.

If you go ...

What: Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors

Where: Lincoln School, 301 Butler Ave., Providence

When: Saturday, Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tickets: $5, at the door

Information: lincolnschool.org

What: Kick-off performance of “Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome”

When: Friday, Oct. 12, 6 p.m.

Where: Lincoln School

Tickets: $10, at lincolnschool.org/charlie