We always look forward to the National Book Festival, but we’ve been particularly excited this year. Not only would Owen be attending for the first time as a full-fledged reader, but the author of his favorite book series was going to be there. Yes, the Mary Pope Osborne, creator of the wildly popular Magic Treehouse books, would be among the many celebrated authors at the Festival presenting and talking about their craft.
The best part: We had the wonderful opportunity to meet her and do a little interview. And since Owen has become a big Magic Treehouse enthusiast, he got to do the asking. (Though I have become a fan myself, my starstruck-ness revealing itself in utterances of “wow!”, “neat!”, and “cool!” during the video.) The clip is a little hard to hear because it was loud at the festival, so turn up the volume (it’s completely SFW). View it here!
A pretty good first interview for a six-year-old, in my totally biased opinion. And what a thrill to speak with Osborne and hear her present later on. As she addressed the huge crowd in the Children’s Pavilion, she connected her latest book, “A Perfect Time for Pandas” to the birth of the panda cub at the National Zoo, stressed the importance of reading, and took an informal poll of what her next book should be about: Catherine the Great, World Cup soccer, hippos, or Mayans (if it were up to Owen, we’d be getting a story about Pele, but we’ll be interested to see how that pans out).
In between Osborne encounters, the kids enjoyed activities in the PBS Kids and Let’s Read America Pavilions, including a reading of “The Wonderful Book” by the Wells Fargo Stagecoach.
Best seat in the house for storytime!
To add to the delights of the day, we also caught the end of Jewel’s presentation — she just published her first children’s book — and got to hear her yodel. (Yes, yodel!) Have a listen – it was fantastic.
Last week, when I posted a compilation of fall festivals taking place around the DC area, I purposely excluded a big one. That’s because the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival deserves a post all its own. The DC tradition, a celebration of books, reading, and literature, consistently draws hundreds of thousands of people to the National Mall every year, giving book lovers of all ages a rare opportunity to interact with and get their books signed by their favorite authors.
This year’s event will take place September 22-23 with the theme “Books that Shaped America, ” inviting authors and the public to share their favorite books that shaped who they’ve become. More than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from all literary genres will make presentations on the Mall throughout the weekend.
So, I know at least one 6-year-old who is going to particularly excited about the Festival this year when he finds out the author of his favorite book series is part of the event, and I bet there are lots of kids who will be thrilled along with him. Mary Pope Osborne, creator of the wonderful Magic Treehouse books, is among the children’s authors who will be presenting. (I, too, am pretty psyched to meet the writer whose stories pique Owen’s imagination and help foster his zest for reading.)
Many more celebrated authors of books for young and old will be there — you can view the complete lineup and schedule of presentations on the Festival website. And a KFDC tip: If you really want to get a spot in a pavilion to see an author, plan to arrive to their presentation early, as space fills up fast. And if you want to pick up a copy of their book for signings, there will be a whole pavilion dedicated to book sales.
Super Reader to the rescue at last year's festival
And that’s not all you’ll find at the Festival. There will be family storytelling events and reading-related activities for kids in the Let’s Read America pavilion; popular PBS characters on hand to greet children and pose for photo ops; the Gateway to Knowledge truck, which houses some of the top treasures and information about the millions of resources in the Library of Congress’ collections; the Digital Bookmobile, where visitors can explore download services from community libraries nationwide at interactive learning stations; and a 50th birthday celebration for Clifford the Big Red Dog.
The public is invited to enjoy this all rain or shine on Saturday, September 22, from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday, September 23, from 12 – 5:30pm. Admission is FREE. For more information, visit the Library of Congress website.