Okay. So, it's Monday morning and I'm still tired from Saturday and Sunday, but wow was it a great weekend!
I began Sunday at a special SCBWI Southern-Breeze sponsored event at Little Shop of Stories. We were treated to a private breakfast with Melinda Long (author of How I Became A Pirate) and Judy Schachner (author/illustrator of the fantabulous Skippyjon Jones). They shared their work, work habits, and roads to success with us and were, of course, highly entertaining. Several of my fellow Southern-Breezers were there like Robyn Hood Black, Barbara Schneider, new friend Lola Schaefer, Hester Bass even drove all the way in from Huntsville! - we're quite a pack these days. So it was great to hang with friends and talk the biz. What a great kick-off to a great day!
Here we are being Judy's adoring fans: Lauren Zimet, Me, Diane Z. Shore (thanks for pulling the breakfast together, Diane!), and Liz Conrad.
Here's Me and Liz hanging with Melinda:
And this was such a great pic, I had to include it. It's Lynn Cullen, author of I am Rembrandt's Daughter, and Melinda:
So Sunday was a work day for me, if you could call it work, as I was MC for the Target children's stage all day. I had the honor of introducing all the stars, which also means I got to hang out with them backstage before they went on - woohoo!
First was Melinda Long. The kids had a blast saying, "Arrrrr" and "Scurvy Dogs" as she read her pirate books. I'll bet her school visits are so much fun! I also got to meet her awesome husband, Thom. Melinda and I agree the real secret to success in children's publishing is a supportive spouse (here's mine being a ham with the Target dog).
Next was the illustrator's panel, which I also moderated.
Side note: Fabulous illustrator, Bill Mayer, stopped by to enjoy the panel too. Look for his latest illustrated work, The Monster Who Did My Math, written by our own Danny Schnitlein, author of one of my favorite books, The Monster Who Ate My Peas - coming soon!
Obviously, I couldn't get a picture of the illustrator's panel onstage, as I was onstage asking them questions, but here's the gang still glowing from our brilliant affair, Judy Schachner, Chris Raschka, Laura Knorr, Liz Conrad, and me.
Afterwards, we gathered around a lovely outdoor table in the shade at Sage for lunch and watched the crowds mull by - ahhhh. Well, ahhhh for them. I kept having to bounce up to go introduce the next speakers. Rough life, I know.
Next were storytellers from The Wren's Nest. They specialize in telling the classic Uncle Remus Tales.
I then had the enormous honor of introducing the illustrious Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick series (look for the movie coming soon - here's the trailer - chills, eh?). She had an enormous crowd of adoring fans, wow, and then signed books for a gazillion years - the line wound a long, long way.
In the interim, Peter Kuper shared his new picture book, Theo and the Blue Note, along with his cartoon method for Mad Magazine and his many graphic novels.
And then, the incredibly energetic and generous Holly Black returned to the stage to talk about her young adult novels, Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. She presented at Dragoncon before coming to DBF and was going back to do yet another presentation that evening. We got to talk quite a bit when she was signing stock back at Little Shop of Stories. Holly is one nice, nice person - I wish we had more time to hang.
Diane (owner of LSOS) and I ended the day back at Sage where we drank some wine and talked about what a wonderful success the festival was and how great it feels to bring reading into children's lives in such a fun and meaningful way. That's what it's all about after all. Reading creates better, more educated citizens which makes the world a better place for us all. Makes me so proud to be a part.
Once again, thanks to the incredible volunteers and especially the staff of Little Shop of Stories, Diane, Dave, Terra, Justin and more. All you're hard work paid off with a smooth running, wonderfully engaging and exciting festival. We are so lucky to have you all here in Decatur - you've had a enormously positive impact on our community!