Sunday, September 27, 2009

My National Book Festival experience

I learned a few things from my first experience heading out to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C.:

1. Even if you would rather pack books in your bag than a sweatshirt, you will inevitably be cold, so pack the warmth anyways (we were sooo cold!).

2. If you go with this wildly brilliant plan that you spent an hour figuring out in order to get books signed AND hear everyone speak that you want to, you're insane. It's not going to happen, so don't go with a plan.

3. If you don't want to spend a fortune on food, bring your own OR walk about a block around the corner from the National Mall and you'll find hot dogs and the like for half the price. (We ate on our way home instead, so we didn't make that mistake at least).

4. If you think you won't need the fancy camera with the nice lens, you're wrong. Instead of packing the super small, light camera, pack the bulky nice one and you might actually end up with decent pictures.

Ok, so we had a very good time with our first Festival outing, though nothing really went as I (the Type A planner), had assumed it would go. I had really wanted to get a lot of my books signed, but after seeing the craziness that was the lines for each author, I decided to completely forget the signing altogether and just listen to the authors speak. I would much rather hear what they have to say than have a signature inside my book cover anyways, so that was a pretty easy decision.

The listening started out with a fabulous group of authors, Shannon Hale, Kate DiCamillo, Steven Kellogg, John Scieszka, Megan McDonald, Nikki Grimes, and Mary Brigid Barrett, who were all very silly together. Though John Scieszka was most definitely the instigator! They all have a new collaborative project going on at Read.gov, which you should all check out!



We then moved onto Jodi Picoult in the Fiction & Fantasy tent. I've heard her speak before, but she's funny and personable (and happens to be my one of my favorite adult authors), so we listened to her chat up her upcoming titles.



After listening to Picoult, my "plan" for the day started to go awry. I had wanted to bounce back and forth between signings and speakers, but saw the absolutely INSANE lines, we jumped back to the Children's tent to listen to Nikki Grimes. It had also started to rain by this point and we were lucky to get actual chairs to sit in, so decided to park it and sit through all the speakers until Mo Willems made his appearance. I would have loved to have seen some of the adult and teen speakers, but was not about to give up my seat to the masses.

So we saw Nikki Grimes....




Craig Hatkoff (of Owen and Mzee fame)...

Lois Lowry (ohmygosh, had a bit of a "fan" moment here)...



Kadir Nelson and Sharon Robinson...



Megan McDonald...



Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black...



and....

Mo Willems!!! He was hilarious as I assumed he would be, had my husband laughing pretty hysterically as well, and was the only author we saw yesterday that actually read his books! We heard Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, Today I Will Fly (An Elephant and Piggie Book), and Pigs Make Me Sneeze (An Elephant and Piggie Book). Such a funny, nice man.

After Mo, we listened to a little bit of Patrick Carman over in the Teen tent, but by that point it was almost 4 and we were wet, cold, and starving! The other tents were mainly for children, with games and giveaways, so we quick walked through them and then were on our way back home. Very enjoyable day listening to my favorite celebrities in the book world!

(At least we remembered umbrellas and ponchos!)

5 comments:

Susan said...

I'm definitely reading this post with some GREEN eyes - I'm so jealous! I love Jodi Picoult, Shannon Hale, Kadir Nelson, Lois Lowry ... so fun for you. And you got to be COLD, too?? You're so lucky :)

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Thanks for sharing. I'd love to be able to attend something like that! And I'm sure I would've over planned as well.

CeeCee said...

Like Susan, I'm sooo jealous. Not to mention the Balto/DC area is my hometown. My brother had to rub salt by saying he'd just drop by the event. OOOOH. Thanks for sharing!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I agree. I ended up getting one book signed the year I attended. Better to experience the day than stand in lines.

Staci said...

That looks like an absolute wonderful time and all of those authors...swoon!! Heaven!!