Today, the weather was hot, but it didn’t stop thousands of people from coming out to enjoy another great day of award-winning authors.
The day started out with author Elizabeth Dulemba sharing her story Soap, Soap, Soap, Jabon, Jabon, Jabon. Dulemba takes traditional folktales and reworks them into tales with latino characters. She was an engaging speaker who also demonstrated her artistic talents.
The tent continued to fill as Skippyjon Jones and author, Judy Schachner, made their way to the stage. She shared her latest Skippyjon book with the audience and demonstrated her knack for giving her character a unique voice. While this particular series has been questioned by some as stereotyping Hispanic culture, it was clear that kids were hooked on her books and love the character, Skippyjon. This was also clear in the autographing line. We stood in line for 3 hours and 20 minutes for our autograph. I’m not sure if it was worth it, but I do love having the personalized drawing of Skippyjon that she did in the front of my books.
Another highlight of the day was hearing Jon Scieszka speak. He is the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature. He has a great sense of humor and unique way of twisting what we expect in a story into his own version. He read from the Stinky Cheese Man as well as his upcoming book Robot Zot. His love for writing and storytelling make him a great choice as an ambassador for books.
A panel of authors spoke about writing for middle grades readers. Donny Bailey Seagraves was one of these authors, and I am excited to say that she will be coming to our school on November 3 for Grades 3-5. Also on this panel was Katie Davis and Laurel Snyder. I’ve put all of these authors’ books on our next book order for the media center.
Probably my favorite speaker of the day was Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the lunch lady series. He had the audience fully involved in his reading of Punk Farm, and he pulled kids up on stage to pose in lunch lady attire while he drew lunch lady on the easel. All of his drawing was accompanied by hilarious music written just for his book content.
James Dean was a great way to close the day. His book with author, Eric Litwin, has been picked up by Harper Collins, and they will have a second book coming out soon. James Dean painted while Eric did his singer storytelling with full audience participation. It was fun to end the weekend with a great local connection and remind everyone to support the local bookshops which are a huge part of the success of this festival.
I’m sad to see the festival come to an end, but now I have next year’s festival to look forward to and already wonder which authors will be attending!