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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors

My bag of books

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the Rhode Island Festival of Children's Books and Authors. It was held at the Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island. What a wonderful gathering of authors, illustrators and people who love books! The school itself is a beautiful building - certainly one which inspires excitement and awe. The people assembled inside were what made the day special.

Unable to attend the morning events I missed some great author talks. Lucky for me, I was still able to meet people when I had books signed.

The people I met and the books I bought:

Paul Zelinsky made you feel like you were doing him a favor. He is a truly gracious man. I got Swamp Angel and the last copy of Rumplestiltskin. We cannot keep his books on the shelves in our school library.

Jerry Pinkney made you feel like you were coming home. I loved watching him as I stood in line. He was relaxed, enjoyed people and smiled a smile which made my worries fade away. I was so happy to purchase for a dear friend a copy of The Moon Over Star, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award this year and the book Barack and Michelle Obama read to second graders. For myself I bought Goin' Somewhere Special a book which is special to me as a librarian. I had to have Jerry Pinkney's Little Red Riding Hood because it was the book which made me stop 10 months of research to change my focus. It was a pivotal book in my thought process about fairy tales and equal access.

Next was a talk given by Christopher Paul Curtis. There are no words to describe just what a delight his talk was. His easy manner, his sense of humor, his sense of timing - all impeccable. Later when I had him sign a copy of Bud, Not Buddy for a relative who is from Flint, Michigan, it turns out he knows another relative of mine. The world is a small place.

Brian Selznik was a delight. The Invention of Hugo Cabret was my pick this time. When meeting him by accident before his signing, we asked if he could sign the book. He replied that he didn't have time to sign the book, that he would be happy to do so later if only we would be able to come to his table, he would want to sign it properly. All the time he was giving this monologue he was signing the book with a wicked smile on his face!

Padma Venkatraman was there signing an intriguing book called Climbing the Stairs, among other titles. I can't wait to read this book. She was charming and had materials for teachers and librarians to use with her books.

I was intending to get a copy of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, but it was sold out by the time I got there. So I ended up getting a copy of Gossamer, which I have not read yet. Her talk was humorous, delightful and intellectually stimulating. I am so glad I heard the talk as I became acquainted with some of her work for an earlier age group which I was unaware of. Oh, I have a lot of reading to do.

One of the great things about the day was seeing the people who were there to sign their books being excited to be able to sit in on the talks given by the others. To see people you admire showing admiration for other people you admire makes you admire them all the more.

It was a wonderful day.

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