I tried to post a picture of me with all the books I had signed at the Festival, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do all this on my iPad. The picture was a cute one, but when posted was too distorted. I think I have around forty or so books. Fourteen or so will go to my students as prizes for our Read Up Pikes Peak Reading Challenge and Children’s Book Week Celebration.
On the final day I sat in on the session with Newbery authors Kate DiCamillo and Rebecca Stead. It was a very entertaining session. Kate DiCamillo is quite funny. Again, I took notes. I’ll post more about their discussion once I get back to Colorado Springs.
But there is one thing I wanted to share now. I left the Newbery session a few minutes early so I could get a good spot in the signing line. I found myself standing behind a young boy, who noticed I was holding several books by DiCamillo. He said “Your’e here to see her too?” He had the biggest smile on his face. We chatted a little bit and I couldn’t help but notice how excited he was to see her. He was clutching a copy of The Tale of Despereaux like it was the latest video game. Once we got up to the table where she was signing, he was fairly bouncing with excitement. Mom asked to get a picture of the boy with the author, and of course she agreed. After the picture, the boy looked up at Kate DiCamillo with adoration in his eyes and shyly said “May I give you a hug?” I thought I was going to cry. I did manage to snap a few pictures of this heart warming scene for my scrapbook. This was one of the highlights of my trip.
The Book Festival is an event to support and promote Texas Libraries. But it is also much more. It’s a celebration of the love of books and reading. Over the years, I’ve seen other children have the same reaction to being able to see a favorite author in person. I still remember the first time I met Rick Riordan (it was my first visit to the Festival) and was astounded at the mob waiting for him. The world of books may be changing, but it’s not dead. As long as there are talented writers willing to do the hard work of pulling words into a story, there will be children (and adults) clamoring to read them.