February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Fans Fete Kinney, Green at DC’s National Book Fest

More than 200,000 book lovers streamed onto the National Mall in Washington, DC, this weekend to attend the 12th annual National Book Festival, where children and YA authors from Jeff Kinney to John Green drew huge crowds of kids who lined up for autographs and brought gifts, letters, and cookies for some of their favorite writers.

Bryan Collier at the National Book Festival in DC.

More than 800 fans showed up to see Green, a New York Times bestselling author who’s received numerous awards including the Printz and a Printz Honor. Kinney spent four hours Saturday morning signing books for close to 2,000 fans. In all, 125 authors gathered for the two-day celebration, which took place September 22 and 23.

The festival began Friday evening, with invited guests gathered at the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building to hear authors such as Patricia Cornwell talk about their craft. Cornwell recalled how she  always played detective—and how as a child she would read her school library sign out cards to gather information on the reading habits of her classmates. As in past years, the crowds were filled with teachers and librarians who make the annual pilgrimage to the capital.

Caryn Levy, a media coordinator at Leicester Elementary School in Leicester, NC, traveled to the event with her colleague Vicki Kolomechuk, a school librarian at Valley Spring Middle School in Bumcombe County, NC. They arrived early to get front row seats to hear author and illustrator Bryan Collier speak on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Junior Library Friends group from Weedsport, NY, made their annual trip to the festival to meet their favorite authors and tour the Pavilion of States.

Rafael Lopez, a Pura Belpre Award-winning illustrator, created the poster for this year’s festival with vivid colorful animals, birds, and insects peering down at child readers. Festival attendees received autographed copies of the poster. (View a slideshow of how the National Book Festival poster evolved).

Check out School Library Journal’s photo slideshow from this year’s National Book Festival.  Click on Show Info (upper right) to view captions.


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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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