On a gorgeous autumn afternoon at the end of September, I was privileged to attend a phenomenal, free, open-air event organized by the Princeton Public Library.
The 8th Annual Children’s Book Festival was a glorious whirlwind of author presentations, book signings, and live music. The list of children’s authors and illustrators was lengthy and impressive. In addition to the picture of David Ezra Stein above, candid shots of the many other authors, illustrators and event attendees we met are available on our Facebook page.
Not only were festival goers able to meet and greet A-list children’s authors and illustrators, but they were also treated to short presentations. One presentation featured a live art demo
of a 3-eared Cyclops moose, another included a surprise visit by Amelia Bedelia
, and a third involved hilarious audience participation in the form of giggling children sporting animal skulls
as talking “hats”! Every presentation was unique and engaging. Presentations cycled in 10-15 minute increments throughout the day-long event.
The riveting presentations were topped only by the opportunity to personally meet and chat with authors and illustrators at their individual tables. Without exception, these award-winning professionals were gracious, engaging, and kind.
My first stop in the tent area was to meet one of my personal middle grade writing heroines, the talented and prolific Ann M. Martin, award winning author and creator of the original Baby-sitters Club series. Despite a wrist injury, she signed books all day, one of which I now own (couldn’t resist!).
Trying (and probably failing) not to appear too overtly star-struck, I moved on to Lenore Look’s table, and got to chat with the creator of the Alvin Ho series. Though her publisher didn’t get a batch of her new books to her in time for the event, there were many of her other gems from which to choose. She was personable and kind, and even shared a link with us to her website, which offers advice for up-and-coming children’s authors.
The remainder of the afternoon was filled to the brim with more of the same awesome experiences. We met several authors from right here in central NJ, including Jen Bryant and John (Bemelmans) Marciano.
It was an incredible day that I will never forget. I strongly encourage those interested in children’s writing and illustration to consider attending next year’s event. It is definitely time well-spent!