Sunday, September 26, 2010

National Book Fest 2010

cross posted on Littlest Bird

There is something about walking out onto the Mall in DC.

You could not count how many times I've been there, but it never gets old.

It's a rush of...belonging, Maybe? an awareness of the fact that you belong there just as much as any other American? Excitement? A crazy realization that yes, that IS the Washington Monument on one side and the Capital Building of our COUNTRY on the other.
And throw in a ginormous crowd of BOOK LOVE into that and you get one really happy me.

I found friends and a daughter to join me in the summertime heat.

We got our posters right off (phew, the most important thing to grab), but then it was a giant swagfest at the Pavilion of the States. Every state and territory has their own table - everyone giving away SOMETHING. An eraser shaped like cheese? Actual hardback books? Pencils, pens and more writing implements? TREATS? Seriously. Our giant C-SPAN red bags runneth over. I especially liked chatting it up with the people from those states, so fun and friendly. Mississippi may have been my best friend in the end, since they passed out those fans :)

Then we hit the Target Let's Read American Pavilion. That's where I got to write a huge postcard to my grandpa in Chicago and Target will mail it to him for FREE, postmarked Washington DC. Isn't that fun? Some postcards had pictures of the poster on the back, others had a madlib you could fill out :)
That's also where one of the highlights came to pass: I got photographed INTO the festival poster. Sorry, that is CLEV-ER. My favorite part is how Deb's got Long John Silver looking right over her shoulder. Also, Poe's Raven is ready to bite Sheely's hand :)

We went to the PBS kids pavilion where the swag was flowing - another bag and book!

One more tent - the Let's Read America part I tent where I was interviewed by some people from Scholastic (anyone who wanted to could go over to be interviewed on camera, it wasn't like they searched me out :). They're apparently celebrating their 90th anniversary and making some kind of video for their website. I was asked how reading has influenced my life and what book influenced me most. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, of course. Super fun that Sweet Kellie had videotaped the whole thing!




We tried to go in the book buying tent but I almost died of heat and sweat smell.

THEN we went and just planted ourselves in the Teens and Children tent.

We listened to the second half of Jane Smiley's talk - she was fantastic. Apparently, she is a big deal. I need to read something of hers - I'm thinking A Thousand Acres (since that's the one that won the Pulitzer).

Then, the woman I came for - Rebecca Stead. She wrote When You Reach Me (which I loved and which won the Newberry this year). She was gracious and unassuming, personable and like the amazing girl next door.She talked about her process of claiming the writer inside her (she took a writing class from Frank McCourt, for Pete's sakes, and yet never had the guts once to stand up and read her writing outloud in his class). She talked about how much of When You Read Me is autobiographical - her single mom WAS actually a contestant on $20,000 pyramid and she lived in a New York City neighborhood that had a laughing man on the corner. I could've listened to her for another hour. BUT. She had to stop and we were too hot to stay any more. We found a stranger to document the moment before we left (by the way, while she was talking, there was not a seat anywhere in the house - or even any standing room in the shade :)
And there you have it. A GREAT day. People I would have like to have listened to: Katherine Patterson, Suzanne Collins, Margarita Engle, M.T. Anderson, Mem Fox, Rosemary Wells, Judith Viorst, Jonathan Safran Foer, Michele Norris and Ken Follett. I did see Isabel Allende (she is absolutely as gorgeous sitting in a golf cart as she is on the flap of her books). Ah, next year, maybe, I'll do more sitting and listening :)

3 comments:

bermudaonion said...

What a fun day! I hope to make it to the National Book Festival one day.

Trish said...

Fun fun fun! I really hope to make this festival one day, too, but until then I'll just wait for the Texas Book Festival next week. It'll be my first and I have no idea what to expect!

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Absolutely oozing with jealousy!

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