Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Savannah Children's Book Festival Wrap-up
The Savannah Children's Book Festival proved once again to be one of my favorite weekends of the year. The Low Country Boil, hosted in the children's section of the awesome Live Oaks Public Library Friday night, was an incredible kick-off with some of the best shrimp I've ever had. The weather was perfect for the entire weekend. All the organizers were, as usual, warm and wonderful. And the fellow speakers were stellar talents.
During the Shrimp Boil, visiting authors and illustrators contributed to the walls in the children's reading area. It's so fun to see the amazing sketches and names of children's book greats who have visited in the past. This year I added a Reading Fairy (something small for a change) and Vicky added a cartouche. (See my first contribution, a cow, here - and last year's contribution, a dragon, here.)
Sadly, this will be my last visit for a while as it was my third year to be a guest (they gotta mix us up a bit!). (My first year was as a guest of the Georgia Center for the Book.) So, Hubbie and I made the most of what had become a mini-vacation of sorts for us (albeit a working one).
We took back roads from Atlanta to Savannah, enjoying the gorgeous southern Georgia landscape - white seas of cotton ready for harvest. We stopped at The Dutch House in Wrens, Georgia - an awesome Amish eatery across the street from a pecan plant (from which I purchased several Christmas gifts).
Here I am with Don and his new puppy, Bella, in the Live Oaks library children's room.
Joe Davich, Vicky and me.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency this year - right on the river and within walking distance to everything I love about Savannah. How nice! Here's the view from the bar (dangerous, I know) of a ship going by on the river. To the right was a view down River Street and a sunset you would not believe.
I heard the festival had about 35,000 to 40,000 visitors this year and I enjoyed some nice crowds in my tent, and some great kids! Even an SCBWI pal, an old high-school buddy (hi Jan!), and one of my student's Mom! How cool is that?
Throughout the weekend, I had the great pleasure of hanging out with long-time email buddy Don Tate (Ron's Big Mission), Judy Schachner (Skippyjon Jones) - who I had the honor of opening for during last year's Decatur Book Festival, Charles R. Smith Jr. (My People), Anna Dewdney (Llama Llama Red Pajama), Alan Katz (Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs), Melinda Long (How I Became a Pirate) and her hubbie Thom, and my good buds Vicky Alvear Shecter (Cleopatra Rules) and Joe Davich (Georgia Center for the Book). There were plenty of others there too, but we became a bit of a pack for the weekend and the bulk of us landed on a lovely restaurant in City Market on Saturday night. SO fun and exactly why I love book festivals so much - it's a party!
Alan and Judy. (Don and Charles are to the right.)
Anna and me. (Vicky is on her other side, and hubbie and Joe are to my left.
I tell ya, the Live Oak Library volunteers bent over backwards to make us feel welcome - especially Betsy, Delores, Shea, Christian, Janet, John, Sidney, etc. Love you all - thank you!!!
Even the press did a bang-up job this year, with a fantabulous write up in la Voz Latina (to the right); Coastal Family; Connect Savannah, Picture This; Savannah Morning News/Savannahnow.com, Author/Illustrator Shares Passion for Picture Books. Thanks so much for the great press guys! And a big thank you to the sweet blog post from Philip at Library Pitch.
And as if all this weren't enough - to top off the wonderful weekend, hubbie and I stopped at the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, Georgia as we meandered home. But that will be another post...