2009 Decatur Book Festival Day 1

Wow!  At the end of the first day of the Decatur Book Festival, I’m exhausted and invigorated.  We are so fortunate to have this book festival in GA.  Today I met Loren Long, Peter McCarty, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Kate DiCamillo, Ursula Vernon, Jarrett Krosoczka, Eleanor Davis, and David Lubar.

The highlight of my day was hearing Kate DiCamillo talk about her writing and getting to speak with her briefly as she autographed my books.  I was surprised to hear her talk about how much she struggles with writing.  It does not come naturally to her, and she really has to wrestle with the words to get them the way she wants them.  She talked about how she was not sure that The Tale of Despereaux would ever become a complete story.  She went through 9 drafts almost 2 years to get the story we enjoy reading today.  What a great reminder that even award-winning authors whom I respect greatly still struggle with getting the story on the page.

Throughout the day I was reminded of the importance of writing what you are passionate about.  I was also reminded to make note of any ideas no matter how small.  The idea for Mercy Watson came to Kate DiCamillo while she was on a plane.  She saw an image of a pig with the name “Mercy” underneath it in her mind.  It took 2 years before she found the story that went with the character.

I hope you enjoy my pictures from today, and I encourage all of you to watch for stories.  Stories are hiding everywhere.  We just need to make note of them and figure out the story that is begging to be told.

Hear clips of Kate DiCamillo’s talk:

Clip 1

Clip 2

Clip 3

Clip 4

Naming Liberty

Naming Liberty
Written by Jane Yolen with paintings by Jim Burke


Have you ever wondered how the Statue of Liberty was made or how it came to be in the New York harbor? Well this lovely picture book will tell you all about it along with the story of a young girl from Russia named Gitl who is coming to America with her family to find freedom.

One of the things I really like about this book is that it tells you two stories at the same time. The left hand pages tell the story of Gitl’s family as they make their way across Europe to get on a boat for America. The family goes through many difficult times, but they are determined o find a better life in American.The right hand pages tell the story of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the French artist who designed the Statue of Liberty. Each page has paintings by Jim Burke that blend the two stories together beautifully.

There are some great facts about the Statue of Liberty that I never knew! How tall it is, how long it took to make it, how it was made and much, much more. Did you know that there is a connection between the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in Paris? You’ll have to read the book to find out what it is. And you’ll be delighted to learn what Gitl’s American name is once she comes to America. Check out this book soon, I think you’ll really enjoy reading it.

~Reviewed Mrs. Molly Efland