Last year was my first time attending the National Book Festival on the Mall. What I liked about the festival is the size (and that you can see the Washington Monument and Capitol Building from the tents!). Compared to, say, the Los Angeles Times Book Festival, the National Book Festival seems more manageable, but still has an impressive line-up of authors and illustrators.
I was lucky enough to be one of the volunteers at the brand new Picture Books Pavilion at this year's festival. Several things changed this year, including the venue (the Convention Center), the length (just one day, instead of two), and the day (the Saturday of Labor Day weekend). People were worried about all of these changes, but I think it went rather well. Air conditioning and real (clean) bathrooms can really change your experience at an event!
[Raúl Colón: I particularly loved seeing his sketchbook where he keeps track of his color palettes.]
Mr. Colón was the first author of the day for our pavilion so he arrived early and we had time to chat. So cool to have some one-on-one time with him and tell him how beautiful his art is. And I got to hear a funny story of how he and Peter Brown hit the bowling alley of a small college town in Ohio.
[Peter Brown: reading My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) and drawing the monster version of Ms. Kirby]
[Bryan Collier: influenced and touched by Snowy Day and Harold's Purple Crayon as a child]
What a dynamic speaker and reader! I love authors who have mastery over reading their own books. You'd be surprised that some authors aren't really good at reading aloud their own written words! His reading of Uptown was particularly good. He's also a native son of Maryland. I overheard him speaking to one of the attendees who said she used to watch him play high school football (that must've been almost 30 years ago). He laughed and said he was a gentle giant.
[Susan Stockdale: talking about Bring on the Birds and Stripes of All Types]
[Laura Overdeck: founder of Bedtime Math]
[Brian Lies: Bats in the Band]
[Tim Tingle: He is such a storyteller!]
[Jacqueline Woodson: before she started reading from Brown Girl Dreaming]
I ran into Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman in the book sales area, which was a delightful surprise. I will never stop tooting Raina's horn, not only because her books are so great, but also because she's an incredibly nice person. Seriously. Super nice.
And I got to chat with Joan Kindig who is in Capitol Choices, a group I joined a year ago. She was in the Picture Book Pavilion and I introduced myself because I haven't had a chance to really speak to a lot of members. I keep running into them at various book-related events around town so I figured I should probably get to know them!