Sep 29, 2008

2008 National Book Festival

Saturday was rainy and the National Mall was a soggy mess but that didn't stop thousands of folks from turning out to hear their favorite authors at the National Book Festival. Nothing can stop the book lovers! Despite the weather we had a great time. We heard many authors that day and they were all wonderful speakers.

Lynda Bird Johnson RobbMarc Brown appeared with Judy Sierra. They were supposed to be talking about their new collaboration, Born to Read. They did read it aloud and it was a really cute book but it wasn't the focus of the discussion. You can't put the author of the Arthur books up there and not expect that the kids would want to ask lots of questions about their favorite aardvark.

Some of the speakers really surprised us. Lynda Bird Johnson Robb spoke as part of a panel of writers who contributed to the book Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.Tiki Barber She was told about moving into the White House and expecting to find a room filled with antiques that instead contained her furniture from home. She described her quest to find out who'd slept in her room before here and regretting it (among other things, Lincoln's autopsy was done there). It was an unexpected perspective and we were all fascinated.

We were also surprised by Tiki Barber, a former NFL player who writes childrens books now. He stressed the importance of education and family and I'm sure that his presentation had a positive effect on all of us but none as much as a boy named Daniel. This boy asked Tiki to autograph his book before he spoke and got moer than he bargained for. Tiki asked him to read a chapter from the book on stage before he autographed it.

Jon ScieszkaJon Scieszka wrote The True Story of The Three Little Pigs and other books. He was made us all laugh with stories from Knuckleheads, his newest book. He grew up with 5 brothers and the tales he told made us all wonder how his mother survived them. After hearing him speak, swordfighting will never again have the same meaning for my girls. (6 brothers on a bathroom break)

Warren BrownOne of the writers that we really wanted to hear was Warren Brown. He's a cake baker and the author of a new book called Cake Love. He was fascinating and told us all about how he went from being a government lawyer to the owner of 7 successful cake shops. His description of perfecting his cake baking method was fascinating. He attacked it using his legal research skills - identifying books that he liked and then seeing who they listed as references. As a legal reasearcher I just loved that.

Katherine PatersonThe highlight of the day was this lady. This is Katherine Paterson, the author of my favorite book ever - Bridge to Terabithia. She was also part of the panel who contributed to Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. She seemed truly surprised at all of the girls - young and old - who greeted her like a rock star. I love that her books are as well received today as they were when I was young. DQ & I both got our books sighned and we got a picture with her. It was fabulous.

It's totally cliche (especially given the weather that day) but the National Book Festival prooves that even dark clouds have silver linings. This wonderful event was created by Laura Bush so it's future is in doubt now that W is finally going home. I really hope that the Library of Congress keeps it going. I read somewhere that in it's first year only 30,000 people attended but last year the number had swelled to over 120,000. Let's hope that the festival keeps going and the numbers keep growing. We need to celebrate reading more.


Carole Knits said...

I didn't realize they'd stop holding this once W leaves. That would be terrible.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I slogged through the humid masses to enjoy this year's overrun national book festival fun. Stories like those you shared from Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and Tiki Barber made it worth the claustrophobia inducing experience. Here's to hoping the next First Lady keeps the tradition alive.

PS) I added a link on my National Book Festival blog to your experiences. Thanks for sharing them.

Laura said...

I thought about going and then decided I didn't want to fight the crowds. Now I wish I had gone!

Serena said...

Warren Brown and his Cake LOVE! I love that place. I missed him. I'm glad Tiki took such an interest in the boy and had him read on stage. That's great.

Here's my experience at the festival: