sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

September 30, 2008

my d.c.: the national book festival
posted by soe 1:49 am

One of the main perks of living in a nation’s capital is that periodically there is an intersection between government, tourism, and residents. The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival down on the Mall is one such co-mingling.

The Book Fest Scene

An annual event for the past eight years, the Book Fest is a pet project of Laura Bush. It remains unclear whether the event will continue as the administration changes, but it was obvious from many of the remarks from authors and presenters that there is hope that funding will be found.

Steven Kellogg

Rudi and I got a late start Saturday morning and did not make it out of the house before the very last minute we could in order to make it to my Must-See panel. Unfortunately, this meant we missed the Frommers of travel book fame and Eleanor Clift, who all appeared early in the day.

Rudi went off to hear Betsy Lewin and Doreen Cronin, the authors of Click, Clack, Moo, while I arrived at the Teen Pavilion just as they introduced Katherine Paterson and her fellow contributors to a new children’s book on the White House, Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Since Paterson was my single must-not-miss author at the whole event, it was very exciting. Admittedly, it would have been more exciting if she’d been talking about any of her novels — Jacob Have I Loved, The Great Gilly Hopkins, or Bridge to Terabithia — but this was still pretty nice.

Katherine Paterson

I met up with my friend Amani and her family and fellow knitter Tara there where we all compared notes and then split up for the afternoon.

Rudi and I headed off for some lunch then, before returning to hear one of the other panelists from the White House book give a solo talk. The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (yes, that is his ambassadorial medal he’s wearing), Jon Scieszka is the author of, among other things, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and a huge proponent of keeping boys reading. He’s also a pretty funny guy and his new semi-autobiographical book, Knucklehead.

Jon Scieszka Plugs His New Book

We stuck around the Teen Tent for the next talk, as well. Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart got up and gave a fun demonstration of how to create pop-ups.

Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart

Sabuda, in particular is well known for his dynamic pop-up books. He and Reinhart have a studio together where they work on book prototypes.

Robert Sabuda and a Bird

It’s amazing what they managed to do with card stock, scissors, and magic markers. They warn that their first efforts almost all are horrible, and that paint will ruin a pop-up. More detailed directions, should you want to play with pop-ups, are available on Sabuda’s website.

An Audience Enthralled

As the rain poured down in the forecasted afternoon shower, Rudi and I split up again. He headed down to the History Pavilion for the Bob Schieffer talk, while I scurried across to the Children’s Tent for the final presentation of the day: Judy Sierra and Marc Brown. Brown is the author/illustrator of the renowned Arthur series of books that inspire the PBS t.v. show.

A More Aardvark-Like Arthur

Brown started out by taking questions from kids in the audience about his famous work, drawing as he went along. He talked about how the character was inspired by his son’s bedtime story request. He seemed particularly pleased by one girl who asked what Arthur was about, you know, really. His answer was that it was about how to avoid the mud puddles of life.

Then he and Sierra talked about their latest collaboration, Born to Read. Sierra recited the book, while Brown turned the pages so that everyone could see the illustrations. It’s a sweet book about a boy named Sam who loves to read and about the various scenarios that books get him out of.

Judy Sierra and Marc Brown

The rain cleared during their talk, giving Rudi and me a chance to head down to the Mall for further adventures. But even had the day ended after the Book Fest, it would have been a terrific day. (Additional photos can be found in my Flickr set.)

Category: arts,books,dc life. There is/are 2 Comments.

One of these years, I am going to make it to the NBF (assumin it continues). Such a cool thing! And Katherine Paterson!!!!!!

Comment by Jenn 09.30.08 @ 7:44 am

I was at a lot of the same speakers. Too bad I didn’t know that you were there. It would’ve been cool to meet you.

Comment by Hillary 10.03.08 @ 9:20 am