National Book Festival 2012 Edition

Food For Thought, Random

Two weekends ago I was one of the lucky – thousands – people who attended the 2012 National Book Festival. I’ve attended the festival before in the past, but I have to say this years event was probably the best one yet. But maybe because three of my favorite authors were there. What three authors? Oh, we’ll get to them in just a bit.

This year I had the pleasure of attending both days of the event. In the past, the National Book Festival was only one day. Not knowing what to expect from the two day event I went into the Festival completely ready, armed with books (and plenty of water), and high spirits. I had real plans this year, plans that included, not only getting my many books signed, but also getting to see my favorite authors actually speak at their speaking engagements.

With my plan in place I arrived at the National Mall where the book festival was being held this years (as it always is) over an hour early in order to catch (favorite author) John Green speak. Well, my plans came to a quick halting stop when I arrived at the designated tent and found there was not a seat to be had, there we fans, readers, librarians, teachers, random people spilling out of the tent.

With that I quickly changed the plan and decided to stick just to getting my books signed – after all that’s a priority and what I was there for. I quickly raced to the John Green signing booth, and plopped myself on-line. Thinking it was nine in the morning and he wasn’t scheduled to start signing until eleven I figured I’d be at the front of the line — line number 2 that is. Which in all honesty, wasn’t terrible. Especially considering there were over fifteen lines for him alone.

(See that red arrow … that’s the tent in which John Green was signing at. This was taken from my spot in the line, just to show you how close I was … at 9 in the morning)

I waited over two hours but it was completely worth it. I had the chance to not only get my books (that is, every book john green has ever written) signed, but I also had the chance to chat with him. I’m very proud to report that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself, nor did I have a fan-girl moment.

 (John Green signing books)

Amazingly I only had to wait about twenty minutes to get my books singed by him. Since I practically breezed through John Green’s line, I had some time to kill before my next signing – (favorite author) R.L. Stine.

My mom (who went with me to the National Book Festival, and who so willingly held my place in many a line that weekend – THANKS MOM!!) and I than walked around, checking out the event. We even had the chance to pick up some fun goodies for my little cousin. We walked, we ate, we chatted, and before we knew it it was time to head back to the swarms of people…particularly the people waiting on line waiting patiently to meet R.L. Stine. Who’s line was crazy. Rumor had it that he didn’t even get to meet everyone there to see him.

(See that red arrow, that was the booth in which R.L. Stine was signing at. The picture was taken from my position in line – in back of line number 2)

I was super excited because I actually met R.L. Stine – an author I’ve loved since I was a little girl reading Goosebumps and Fear Street. Of course, I was prepared, I came armed with my favorite Fear Street book – One Evil Summer – for him to sign. I look at now, as I type this, and can’t believe that it’s actually signed by R.L. Stine! How crazy is that.

After R.L. Stine’s signing I only had two more author’s up — (favorite author) Maggie Stiefvater and David Levithan. While I waited on Maggie’s line, mom waited on David’s line. And timing worked out perfectly. As always Maggie was super awesome and super sweet! She’s quickly become one of my most favorite authors – especially after reading her latest The Raven Boys (review coming soon).

(Top: Maggie signing books. Bottom: Me and Maggie!)

I just have to say this, Maggie’s a super cool person and a fantastic writer. If you haven’t read her books, you really should. They are full of magic, mayhem, vivid characters,  plots so twisted readers will be gripping the edge of their seats, and above all things GREAT writing. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

After getting my books signed I met up with my mom and waited on my last line for the day: David Levithan’s. Now let me explain something I’ve seen David Levithan at many, many, many author signings, but have only managed to get to one of his author signings. This was my chance to meet David Levithan, and get my books signed – one of which was Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which was signed by John Green earlier in the day). David Levithan’s line, in comparison to the other lines I  (or mom) stood on was a breeze. Within fifteen minutes I had met him, had my books signed, and was on my way to a much-needed dinner!

(David Levithan, obviously)

Saturday was great. The only really bad part of the day was the sunburn I walked away with.  Ouch!

Sunday was a low-key kind of day. There were only four authors I wanted books signed by: Sonia Manzano, Siobhan Vivian, Philip and Erin Stead, and Jacqueline Woodson.

In the morning mom and I went and walked around the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, which we’ve both visited on several other visits to Washington D.C. . After walking around we really just chilled and hung out until it was time to head back to the National Mall. The first signing was Sonia Manzano’s signing. I had picked up her latest  book, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, at this past year’s Book Expo, so I figured I’d have it signed. What a treat that would be. Well it was an even bigger treat when I realized that Sonia Manzano played Maria on the beloved television show Sesame Street. I grew up watching Maria, so it was a real honor to meet her. And boy, does she look FANTASTIC!! Now I really can’t wait to read The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano.

One of the surprises of the weekend was Philip and Erin Stead – a husband/wife writer/illustrator team who wrote, quite possibly one of the best children’s books on the shelves today, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. I hadn’t realized they were signing, so when I did I scooped up a book from the book sales tent at the National Book Festival (there were a very small number of books available), and when the time came had my chance to talk with them, and get my book signed. They were both so down to earth, both so humble, not to mention talented.

And admittedly Erin Stead has a style I would love to steal. I especially loved the stripe of blue-ish/purple dyed hair!

I just made it to Siobhan Vivian’s line, but felt really bad because she was signing with Jenny Han for their latest release Burn For Burn and I had nothing for Jenny Han to sign.  Since I picked up an arc of Burn for Burn at Book Expo this year, and had it signed by both authors, I didn’t need a second copy.  The only book I had was Siobhan Vivian’s The List. But they were both really nice, and very understanding as to why I wasn’t supporting their newest book. (I’m a supporter, I swear! I can’t wait to read Burn for Burn).

Lastly I met back up with mom and took my place at the front of the line for Jacqueline Woodson – an author that I’ve come to really look up to as a writer. Her work is gritty, honest, but always has a glimmer of hope. I love that.  Since I was first in line (THANKS MOM!) I got to get my books signed and head back to the hotel for a much-needed rest.

It was a great weekend. Not only did I get to get my books signed, not only did I get to meet some of my favorite authors, but I also got to meet some great people while waiting.  Beyond that, the weather was simply divine! It was clear skies and cool breezes all weekend.

If you’ve never been to the National Book Festival, it’s an experience to be had. You should definitely try to get there one year, you’ll be happy you did!

(Picture Crane, while they were taking pictures of us in the crowds below I snapped a picture of them!)