cross posted on my personal blog...
Truly, a wonderful thing it is to spend some time at the National Book Festival in our nation's capital. My darling daughter joined me on this little adventure and what a great companion she was.
Our arrival on the mall at lunchtime meant that we hit probably the biggest crowds, but not to worry - they do a pretty fine job of organizing. Without too much hassle, we made our way over to wrestle up a couple giant purple bags from the C-SPAN wonder bus. Sheely was insistent that THIS was the first order of business for the day. However, I was distracted by two things along the way. FIRST, these awesome signs right near that glorious Washington Monument:
Isn't she cute?
And second, I had already brought with me three registered bookcrossing books that I was planning on handing out (perfect place, huh?) and as we walked along I saw a group of bookcrossers with wagons distributing books! Fortuitous, no? We had a nice chat, they told me about a group they have and I passed along one of my books. The other two I just handed out to strangers later on :)
SO. The giant purple bag to fill with loot. And fill it with loot we did, starting in the Pavilion of the States. Here, each state (and territory, actually - American Samoa? Puerto Rico? awesome) has a booth and you can gather info about local authors, literary sites, books set in that state and gather all kinds of bookmarks, pins, magnets, posters etc. etc. And BOOKLISTS, which thrilled me :) They also have a neat map of the country that you can take around to each booth and have them stamp your map! Sheely filled hers up in our two different visits there. She loved the soybean crayons from Nebraska and Utah gave away mint truffles from The Lion House!! Really, count on Utah to be the ONLY booth that gave away a refreshment :) I love it! At the North Carolina booth we got to put a sticker on our connection to the state - here's Sheely marking out where my in-laws live:After that, we wandered over to the PBS kids tent, but Sheely felt too old to get her pictures taken with the characters. We listened to the band for a while, though, and snagged some awesome green messenger bags. Then to the Target Pavilion where they handed out some SMOKIN red reusable grocery bags. LOVE those, heavy canvas and so Target-ish. I am such a fan of that store. They were the #1 sponsor of this event and you know what my friend Kellie realized later as we discussed? Target was also the #1 sponsor of the Shakespeare Free For All performance we went to. I love the programs that store supports. We should ALL patronize Target as much as possible. I know I do :)
Here is the 1st of 2 best parts of today's story. The only author I was willing to make my 9 year old daughter wait in line with me for a book signing was Shannon Hale. It's so rare and wonderful when you find an author whose every book makes you have a sigh of joy. I brought along the first book of hers I ever read just in the hopes that I could get my daughter to handle the wait. And who should I see as I was walking past the Children and Teens tent? Shannon Hale, standing and chatting just outside the tent with maybe a dozen people standing around. My heart had the thought that this was a SIGN that I was NOT meant to have to make my child wait in gigantic lines today!! So I waltzed myself over and waited my turn and met this fabulous lady.
And she is fabulous. Down to earth and lovely. She actually complimented me on my hair. I think my response was, "Um, you don't have to say that." And she didn't have to, but she did, and it's nice to know I'm not the only person who feels like my brown/gray hair deserves to live and let live. Anyway, we chatted for a moment because I also brought a long a copy of Forest Born that sweet Book Nut let me borrow (yes, from her home very far away). So we talked book blogging for a moment and we all agreed that Book Nut is a book review goddess :) She signed each of the books and then she graciously let me get a picture with her:That is fun, folks. Super fun. I honestly didn't know if the day could get any better but THEN!! I got to have a blogging buddy meet up. Stellar Tricia of Library Queue and I became fast friends oh so long ago on the blessed inter-web and we've tried on several occasions to be in each other's paths along this east coast. When she told me she'd be at the festival, it made my desires to get there increase one hundred fold. PLUS, she brought her 9 year old daughter along too!
Perfection, truly. Walking along near the cinnamon roasted almonds cart she found me and OH the joy! You know life is good when you hug a person you have never seen before in life and you feel just really pleased that the moment has finally come. We had long talks waiting in line for food and we had an al-fresco lunch right there on the grass of the mall. How wonderful that it wasn't awkward. I had a nice stranger take a picture of us:I call it "giant and three friends". Guess who's the giant :) HA! I actually really like it because we all look happy. Also, I like it because we aren't standing in front of the giant hamburger roasting tent like we were in the first picture we took. The Smithsonian Castle is MUCH more scenic :)
After we did the States tent some more with the girls, Sheely was ready to head home. She'd been such a great sport, it was just fine with me. We said goodbye to our new/old friends and walked in the rain back to the metro, filled with the kinds of memories that stay.