Saturday, September 29, 2007

National Book Festival

I personally believe the National Book Festival should be treated with the same enthusiasm and magic as Christmas. Maybe even more. Christmas = one Santa Claus, Book Festival = many authors AND other fictional characters. (Although we heard staff whispering that the Penguin from Penguin books got sick and had to leave before his scheduled appearance)

Our first stop of the morning was to hear Brian Haig, a mystery/thriller writer I discovered this summer on my quest to do nothing but sit on my porch and read. He was a surprisingly engaging speaker and beneath his quick wit he had great insights into the writing process. His greatest writing suggestion I took away was that he always starts knowing his ending. After that, he just needs to figure out how to get the characters there. What a great mini-lesson on planning for writing workshop.

Another tidbit I took away from him was that he writes with the beliefs that:
1. His readers are intelligent people and he doesn't need to hit them over the with his message. Less is more, both in terms of descriptive text and in political messages.
2. Much of the press and general literature depicts life as being black and white. He works to show that life is not like that. I haven't read his newest book on Iraq, but if it somehow shows what is going on over there without taking sides, I can't wait to read it. (hello intersession).

Later we wandered down to the Pavilion of States, which is really like a literary version of Halloween. Kids get a map of the US and are suppose to go to every state's booth and get their map stamped. Teachers, as true scavengers, go to every booth and grab posters, sticky notes, book marks, and more that all have something to do with reading.
Just like Halloween I came home to empty out my large yellow bag to check out my loot.
1 orange 'readstrong' bracelet. 1 Latin music cd. 2 books on nursery rhymes to read to your toddler. many fabulous posters. 1 nice pen. 1 pack of sticky notes. 2 cds of children's books in spanish. 1 pack of black-eyed-susan seeds.

We ended up at the top of the Post Office Pavilion where we could look down and see the large crowd of readers swarming the National Mall. What a great sight.

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