Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 2009 National Book Festival, Snapped and Tweeted

Saturday was my third time attending the National Book Festival. This time, I remembered my regular camera and I attempted a live tweeted commentary from my cell phone as I watched.  I began with this tweet:
  • Books, books, books, no rain!
(I forgot the National Book Festival identifying hashtag, #nbf, but later on, I remembered it. Mostly.)

By the end of the day, it was "books, books, books and rain," but no matter. The crowds were larger than the year before, the tents were packed with wow-worthy authors, and I arrived early enough to get both a free bag and a free, gloriously image-jammed poster.  And to my amusement, I looked semi-official, because the Festival's go-to color was purple, and I had (because of the threatened rain) worn my royal purple trench coat

Here's a partial record of my day, in both pictures and tweets. (I'm saving my time in the Poetry Tent for Poetry Friday.) You can find more tweets from other bloggers by searching the hashtag, #nbf.  And of course, visit the Library of Congress site for web videos of all the presentations as soon as they are posted.

A NOTE FROM YOUR SPONSOR:  Would this be a good time to remind you about the TwitterChat Cheryl Klein and I are having this Wednesday, Sept. 30 at noon EST?  All you have to do is sign up for an account at, then go to on Wednesday. Enter the hashtag you wish to follow: #YESchat, and you're good to go. You don't have to tweet a twit, if you don't want to. You can simply eavesdrop.

Thank you. We now return to the main event:

Steven Kellogg greets a young fan.

Ambassador Jon Scieszka
(with a kid who looks as mischievous as Jon himself)
The poster is for The Exquisite Corpse,
the new continuing story project
the Library of Congress is hosting at

Author Nikki Grimes,
one of The Exquisite Corpse co-conspirators

  • Exquisite corpse authors: Katherine Paterson made us do it 
  • Jon Scieszka says to go to to read about roller skating babies

Banner from the Festival poster,
designed by artist Charles Santore
(three more below)

Festival sponsor, Target, brought in
 the cutest, most patient dog
to pose with readers, young and old

TWEETS:  (after my Poetry Tent interlude)
  • Then i have to choose: lois lowry or jane hirshfield impossible 

  • Standing in the aisles for lois lowry

Looking over the shoulder of a mom who was wise enough
 to buy Lois Lowry's new picture book, Crow Call.
The author spoke about writing it, and her re-acquaintance
 with her father, a stranger to her because of World War II

Crowds for Lois Lowry

  • Eating popcorn for lunch
  • Listening to sharon creech's hypnotic voice  

Note: Sadly, I have no picture of Sharon Creech, but she and her editor did a fabulous tandem reading from her new book, The Unfinished Angel.

(glimpsed through umbrellas at the edge of a packed tent)

Mo Willems, cracking everyone up
Loved his reading of Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

  • Bring on Mo!
  • Mo: knuffle bunny the musical! at kennedy ctr in may  

Note: MotherReader's daughter played the part of Piggie in Mo's staged reading of Today I Will Fly. I'm sure she'll be blogging about it!

Patrick Carman in the vest he wore on The Today Show,
talking about The 39 Clues

  • Patrick Carman: new vest, stretch armstrong & reading 

  • Next 39 Clues: Australia!

Jeff Kinney reveals new sketches for his next Wimpy Kid book.
This one is of Greg's ideal summer vacation: inside!!!!

  • Bringing in the easel for Jeff Kinney

  • Jeff Kinney: I decided to draw as 7 Year old boy so no one would question my ability

  • J Kinney: On set of wimpy kid movie watched apple fight 

  • J Kinney: failure influenced me 
  • Kid offering two ideas to J Kinney "if you need them"! 

I stayed all the way until the last presentation of the Festival
because it was Judy Blume.

  • Up next: judy freakin blume! 
  • judy blume: i was a shy kid afraid of dogs swimming everything! 
  • judy blume: i made up all my book reports 
  • judy blume: i knew i was 70 when i heard it on NPR
  • judy blume: Next book set in 1950s 

  • i want to ask judy blume: how did a shy kid get so brave? 


  • 7 hours of bookfesting I'm beat!


  1. Thanks so much for this report, Sara! Typically in my cocoon of unknowing, I'd no idea there was any such thing AS a National Book Festival; this made me wish I'd been anywhere within shoutin' distance of DC yesterday.

    Love that the poster is anchored by the Tea Party, and really love that you'd inadvertently dressed per the day's theme color. :)

  2. WOW! What a terrific day!!

  3. Oh I just kept squealing throughout this blog post:

    Can't wait to see MotherReader's video!

    I LOVE THAT POSTER by Santore, who is so talented.

    I was reading DiCamillo's new book, which I was enjoying, but I gave it to a friend who had a great, much-more-important need for it. Must find another copy.

    Must see Crow Call!

    Judy Blume: I knew I was 70 when I heard it on NPR = brilliant.

    Jules, 7-Imp

  4. Every couple weeks, Lucas tells me another "idea" for the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that he thinks I should send to Jeff Kinney. He seems to think I have some kind of direct line, or perhaps he just thinks I'm moonlighting under a pseudonym. I keep saying noncommittal things like "hmmmm" in response to these requests.

  5. You should tell Lucas to start his own company. I mean, write his own book. Even if he writes Wimpy Kid stories, that's how you learn. By imitating, reading and practicing. I bet he comes up with some wild stuff.

    By the way, if I ever get to the point that kids are so excited about my work that they offer me suggestions in public, I'll be in on Author Cloud Nine.


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