Got back today from Rochester, NY, where I attended the 12th annual Rochester Children's Book Festival on Saturday. I've been going for about...five years? Six? And it just keeps getting better and better. There were more than 40 authors and illutrators this year, covering everything from board books to YA novels. Amazing numbers of kids and grown-ups came to get books signed and listen to readings and do fun activities. It's wonderful to get to meet and talk with so many book-loving people, and to see author friends I only get to hang out with once or twice a year at events like this one.
Here is the festival hall in the morning, before it was opened to the public. That's Bruce Coville right in the center, and Vivian Vande Velde with the camera to the left. You can also see some of the fabulous volunteers (in the yellow t-shirts) who make this event possible (not to mention awesome) year after year:
Here's the hall a bit later, after the doors were opened:
Packed does not begin to describe it. I don't even think this was the festival at its busiest point.
Later on, there was a celebratory dinner, where the authors and illustrators and organizers and volunteers got to kick back and relax after a great but exhausting day. I didn't take nearly enough pictures, but here are a few. I am in most of them, because I like to get my picture taken with fabulous people.
Me with author Mark Shulman, whom I also know from the Kindling Words retreat and who is a great person to talk to when you are stuck on a story idea and need advice:
Me with Newbery-award winning author Linda Sue Park:
Leander Watts and I with Spock-hands and blinding flash:
Me with author/illustrator Dan Mahoney, who was also nice enough to ferry some of us around in his car on festival-day:
Fearless leader Carol Johmann, being thanked on everyone's enthusiastic behalf by Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Underhill:
Festival attendees who stopped by my table got to see a special sneak peek of the cover The Dragon of Trelian. If you weren't there, you will just have to wait. :)
Can't wait to go back again next year! In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the fifth annual Savannah Children's Book Festival next weekend. If you're in the area, I hope you will come on by!