2014 National Book Festival

For the first time (ever?) the National Book festival was held not-on-the-mall. So we traveled extra Metro stops up on the new Silver Line (this is probably only significant if you live in the DC area: we have been waiting FOREVER for the Silver Line to open!) to the Washington Convention Center.

Washington Convention Center

The new venue seems to work. Here’s a summary of what appealed to me.  Please bear in mind I am transcribing these ‘quotes’ from my scribbled notes in combination with juggling a camera. If I don’t have the wording exact, don’t hate me! It’s the good intention I’m aiming for.  If you’d like to see the recordings of the author video webcasts or audio podcasts, go to the Library of Congress website.

Kate Dicamilo, the Library of Congress’ 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, kicked off the Teen ‘pavilion’ (I could not get that word out of my vocabulary!) to a full house.

Kate Dicamilo

Her MG book Flora & Ulysses stars a squirrel! She’s writing squirrels, too, (see under my name in sidebar if that nut fell too far from the tree –>) and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know it. *hangs head* But seriously, it’s because the bookstore closed in my town and I now have to travel to get to one. But back to the event. I was right on an aisle, and the dance in the kids’ line-up for questions is so fun, and funny, to watch.

line 1line 2line 3

They are all so nervous, and patient!


Because the teen and children and picture book ‘pavilions’ were located on one floor instead of across the mall from each other, I popped in and out of the three, easily seeing the authors on my list.

Peter Brown

Loved Author/Illustrator Peter Brown’s talk, especially his aside answer to a question about networking: He attends the KidLitGroupTherapy meetings in Brooklyn.

Brian Collier

Brian Collier was so strong and emotional in presenting his wealth of work. I’m paraphrasing, but this struck me: “The best of me still lives in you if you do your best.”

Susan Stockdale

Loved seeing the process on Susan Stockdale, nature picture books. Featured art included pages from Bring on the Birds:

Susan Stockdale 1Susan Stockdale 2

Susan Stockdale 3Susan Stockdale 4



Makes me want to paint!

  Meg Medina

Meg Medina – “We’re every age we were before.” And, how she writes: “Not with an outline. Ever.”  Here I’ll give a shout out to the ASL Interpreters. I’m not hearing impaired, but I have a guess they are pretty accurate.

Meg Medina and ASL interpreter

Also, Meg’s an advocate of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.

Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu was a new fantasy MG/YA author to me. “I feel like I was created by children’s books.” And “I don’t see the point of limiting what kind of stories you can tell.”

I now have Breadcrumbs on my TBR list.

Kendare Blake

Kendare Blake! I love Anna Dressed in Blood, perhaps one of the only horror stories I’ve read and I read it by mistake. I told her that afterwards and how much I enjoyed her horror books and she was good with my confession. Kendare knows her writing is going well when it scares her when she is safe in her chair. Her reaction to a teen asking her: “What is it like dating a horror writer?”

Kendare Blake 2

She’s married and doesn’t date much, but advised: “If your date isn’t troubled by your choice of discussion topics, then you should be troubled!”

And lastly, in a change of genre I popped in on the Culinary Arts ‘pavilion’ to see Carla hall. I love The Chew, and Carla was every bit as on and real in person as she is on the show.

Carla Hall 2

She was funny and wise: “People are afraid to fail. Unless you are willing to fail at something, you aren’t going to get good at it.”

Carla Hall

“Follow your heart. Sometimes that changes. The world will conspire against you. You make a way to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you no. There is power in the yes.”

NatBookFest poster

Great day. Great inspiration!


About Laurel Wanrow

Magic. Nature. Adventure.

Posted on August 31, 2014, in Favorite Authors, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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