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Touch a truck, hear James Patterson, see New York ballet dancers

What are you doing this weekend?

You can bring kids or yourself to Touch a Truck! from 9:30 to noon Saturday at Spanish River Library.

Culture vultures can hear James Patterson and Mitch Albom speak. They’re among a slew of famous authors at the Palm Beach Book Festival Saturday at Florida Atlantic University.

Stars of New York City Ballet will dance with the young company at Boca Ballet Theatre. Their performance is 3 p.m. Sunday March 17 at Olympic Heights Performing Arts Theatre, 20101 Lyons Road, just west of Glades Road in Boca. For tickets go to the Boca Ballet webpage or call 561-995-0709.

Boca’s police and fire departments and city services do Touch a Truck! every year. They bring vehicles and demonstrate how they work. You can check out fire trucks, aerial bucket trucks, dump trucks, beach tractors and even a rescue boat. 

Younger visitors are invited inside the library for story times and coloring pages featuring the trucks on display. The program is free, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Food will be available for purchase. The Spanish River Library is at 1501 NW Spanish River Blvd., the first traffic light east of Military Trail.

The famous author James Patterson is speaking at one of four panels at Florida Atlantic University’s fifth annual Palm Beach Book Festival. Panels are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in FAU’s University Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

All-day tickets are $85 at FAU or call 561-297-6124. Free parking is included and lunch will be for sale.

Patterson’s panel starts at 12:15 p.m. He’s known for created fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross and Michael Bennett. Among his literary collaborations are “The President Is Missing,” with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The first panel starts at 10 a.m. with Tayari Jones and Idra Novey, two authors featured in Oprah’s Book Club panel. The session will be moderated by Leigh Haber, books editor for Oprah Magazine.

The second panel at 11 a.m. will feature Susan Orlean, a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of seven books. The panel will be moderated by Christopher Bonanos, city editor at New York magazine.

Panel 4 at 2 p.m. is “Big Bens! Authors in Conversation,” with Ben Fountain and Ben Bradlee, Jr. Bradlee spent 25 years with the Boston Globe including the Pulitzer Prize–winning coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Fountain is the author of “Brief Encounters with Che Guevara.”

The final panel of the day starts at 3:20 p.m. and features Mitch Albom, the author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” other TV films, stage plays, screenplays, and a musical. Albom’s books have collectively sold more than 39 million copies in 42 languages.

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