National Book Festival, 9/24/2009
I’m not sure about snow or gloom of night, but I can prove that a little rain will not keep readers at home when the National Book Festival came to Washington, DC in front of the Smithsonian Castle. Huge white tents set up in various genres held hundreds and hundreds of readers eager to hear from some of their favorite authors, live and in person! Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this year’s event was a huge success. The autograph lines were long, the bookmarks were plentiful, C-Span was live, the digital bookmobile was demonstrating e-books, and the LOC was webcasting every author. It was great!
Kathy Disney and I got on the train in Atlanta at 8:30 Friday night and arrived at Union Station at 10 am on Saturday, September 24. We walked to the mall, picked up an event tote bag and a program, and headed to our first tent. After a full day of standing shoulder to shoulder (literally!) with other book lovers to hear James Patterson, John Irving, Nicolas Sparks, Sue Monk Kidd, Mary Jane Clark, and Nikki Grimes (there is only so much time in a day!), it was back to Union Station to catch the 6:30 Crescent back to Atlanta. We rolled into the lovely old station at 8am, ready to start making this an annual pilgrimage.
The LOC has an archive of the podcasts from previous years on their website and you can download them for free from iTunes. I’ll be watching to see when this year’s are added in order to hear what I missed – John Grisham, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Steven Kellogg, David Shannon, Sharon Creech, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, Mo Willems, our own Carmen Agra Deedy and so many more! There just aren’t enough hours in one day!
Please read on….
Book-lovers will also enjoy the launch of the website Read.gov, which will put all of the literary programs sponsored by the LOC and the Center for the Book together into one place. The Book Festival also had another launch that school librarians must know about and it, too, begins with another train ride through the night: The Exquisite Corpse Adventure!
Ever heard of an Exquisite Corpse? It is an old game where you write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold it over and pass it on to the next person to do the same. The game ends when someone finishes the story, which is then read aloud.
This Exquisite Corpse Adventure works this way: Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has written the first episode, which is “pieced together out of so many parts that it is not possible to describe them all here, so go ahead and just start reading!” He has passed it on to an outstanding cast of writers and illustrators, who will eventually bring the story to an end.
Every two weeks, there will be a new episode and a new illustration. The story will conclude a year from now. An RSS feed will make it easy to get bi-weekly updates with new Exquisite Corpse Adventure chapters. You must take a look and share with your students!