UP!–A FESTIVAL of BOOKS in Princeton!

Princeton Library-framedLast year, on September 21, 2013, was the first time I attended the Princeton Book Festival held at the Princeton Public Library here in New Jersey. The event began at 11 a.m. and since I hadn’t arrived ‘til after 12, the nearby parking garage was full, so I felt lucky finding a spot on the street. Not having seen the meter, I didn’t expect to find a parking ticket on my windshield when I got back—but I did. As a true bibliovore, the first thing I thought was Oh, man, I would’ve rather spent that $40 on books! So, ultimately, the two very important things I came away with that day were 1) I will never miss this book festival again, if I can help it, and 2) arrive early enough to get a spot in the garage.

The 2014 festival, hosting over 80 authors and illustrators, was held yesterday, September 20th, and you can be sure I was there! As soon as I found a snugly spot in the garage, I let out the breath of relief I hadn’t realized I was holding in! Oh, happy day 😀 I quickly gathered my NJ SCBWI bag which held 3 books I already owned, eager to have them signed. As expected, the effect of the crescendo of LIVE music was uplifting, and upon turning the corner of the building, the tents in the piazza lined with tables overflowing with books, and the indigenous sights and sounds of bustling book people, were exhilarating!

Princeton Book Festival-framedFor the next 5 hours I was going to spend time with my talented author and illustrator friends, along with an amazing line-up of KidLit “stars” I’d never met. I was over-the-top elated at the chance to express to them the joy their work has given me. From beginning to end, the aisles were streams of book lovers, young and old, pulled along by the current of author after author, illustrator after illustrator, and books upon books upon books. For sure, no one left empty-handed. There were mounds of giveaways and with the program supplied by the Princeton Library specifically for this purpose, as if on a treasure hunt, visitors gathered signature after signature. I left with treasures of my own: memorable moments with people I admire and appreciate, many more signed books than I’d intended, and an afterglow that lasted well into the night. What an amazing celebration of the love for and power of children’s literature!

I’m far from a great photographer, but I’d love to share some of those treasured moments with you. Here you’ll find many of the talented people I got to spend this day with (listed alphabetically). For further information, including the books they’ve produced, simply click on their links:

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen: 

Sudipta Bardhan Quallen-framed

Sudipta, along with author Kami Kinard, have created KidLit Summer School (fantastic!). Pictured here is the promotional material on which appears the art of Zachariah Ohora. She later gifted him with these since he was also in attendance. I didn’t get a pic of him, but Robin Newman did:

Kidlit Summer School Swag for Zachariah

John Bemelmans Marciano masterfully mimics the work of his grandfather, Ludwig Bemelmans‘ Madeline books, carrying on his legacy, of which is being celebrated at an exhibit in New York City:

John Bemelmans Marciano2-framed

Jennifer Berne:

Jennifer Berne-framed

Peter Brown:

Peter Brown 1-framed

Laurie Calkhoven:

Laurie Calkhoven 2-framed

Lauren Castillo:

Lauren Castillo 2-framed

Floyd Cooper (with his wife and son):

Floyd Cooper with his wife and son-framed

Bruce Coville: 

Bruce Coville-framed

Pat Cummings and H. Chuku Lee  

Pat Cummings & H. Chuku Lee-framed

Margery Cuyler and Deborah Heiligman:

Margery Cuyler & Deborah Heiligman-framed

Debbie Dadey:

Debbie Dadey 2-framed

Ame Dyckman and Adam Lehrhaupt:

Adam & Ame1-framed

Brian Floca, the 2014 Caldecott Medal Winner:

Brian Floca 2-framed

Alison Ashley Formento:

Alison Formento-framed

Leeza Hernandez (with an aspiring illustrator whose name I believe was Anne. I’ll try to find out!):

Leeza Hernandez - framed

Tad Hills:

Tad Hills 1-framed

Brian Lies:

Brian Lies-framed

Brian has constructed one of the most phenomenal vehicles which rivals Batman’s Batmobile any day. In line with his line of “bat” books, he tours with this customized, interactive truck:

Brian Lies' BatMobile1-framed

Kelly Light:

Kelly Light 1-framed

And here’s Kelly generously sketching her characters for me, her books having ALL SOLD OUT! :D:

Kelly Light 2-framed

David Lubar:

David Lubar-framed

Robin Newman (soon-to-be published author):

Robin Newman-framed

Greg Pizzoli, winner of the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award:

Greg Pizzoli-framed

Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell:

Anne & Lizzy Rockwell-framed

Dave Roman:

Dave Roman-framed

Corey Rosen Schwartz and Leeza Hernandez:

Corey Rosen Schwartz & Leeza Hernandez-framed

Steven Savage:

Steven Savage-framed

Jon Scieszka, the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (succeeded by Katherine Paterson, Walter Dean Myers and Kate DiCamillo):

Jon Scieszka 7-framed

Raina Telgemeier:

Raina Telgemeier-framed

Bill Thomson, pictured here holding an original piece from his picture book Chalk:

Bill Thomson2-framed

Nancy Viau:

Nancy Viau - framed

Dan Yaccarino:

Dan Yaccarino-framed

And for more great pics of the day, you can visit Robin Newman‘s blog and I imagine that articles will be plentiful in the upcoming days, through sources like the Princeton Public Library site, local Princeton and various newspapers, and Publisher’s Weekly

I think it’s pretty plain to see why I had such a great time. Thanks for sharing this unforgettable day with me, vicarious though it may be.  😀

ADDED on Sept. 25th:

For your interest—well, if you’re interested, I took pics of the books I purchased at this magnificent festival (a couple I already owned) and the inscriptions inside each. I thought I’d share 🙂




Signatures collage


Can’t help but be HAPPY about all this! 😀 😀 😀

40 thoughts on “UP!–A FESTIVAL of BOOKS in Princeton!

  1. I found this post really interesting. I don’t even read books! Judging by your pictures, it looks like everyone had a great day. It must be great living in a place so steeped in culture and arts. Fantastic 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Kim, I would’ve loved to see you! I’m sorry you missed it, too 😦 I hope you checked out Robin’s site, too (I think I linked to it at least 3 or 4 times lol). She took some fantastic pics and quite a few are of people I didn’t get!


  2. I was ooh-ing and aw-ing over each photo as I scrolled down.
    Over my shoulder hubby asked “Do you KNOW all these people?”
    I laughed and said, “Well, I kinda do!”
    This event needs a red carpet! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy, I’m so glad you enjoyed these (and Robin took even better pics; definitely click to her blog). What a perfect image–a red carpet! You’re SO right! And I’m sure if it had padding, a lot of aching feet would appreciate it, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, it really is! I’m so sorry you missed it 😦 Although, now that I have this blog, I figure there’s a good chance I’ll mention it once I know it’s coming, but that’s not a good thing to rely on. I say mark your calendar for late spring/early summer to check their website (the link is up top) to see next year’s official date. I’m guessing it’s going to be Sept. 19th or 26th 😀 I’d LOVE to try to meet my online friends who go! And yes, you will SO want to buy books! I ran into many librarians who were getting copies of things not just for themselves, but their school libraries 🙂 It’s virtually impossible not to want ALL the books, but of course, that’s impossible lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Alison 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It IS a magical day and one I hope I can enjoy every year! I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you and am glad we had that opportunity. As you know, any Kidlit or book-related events are usually so jam-packed with great stuff to do and people to meet, it often doesn’t allow time for mingling the way we’d like 🙂


  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing your fun day!! And for including those inscriptions inside your books! I love finding stuff in books! We have the Texas Book Festival coming here in a few weeks. It’s a big deal like your Princeton one. I won’t get to go, but the Mom Person will bring back a load of fun books and lots of tales to tell!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure 🙂 AND, Rhythm, I didn’t find the inscriptions–the authors and illustrators signed them for me! I got to meet all those nice, talented people. Yes, I’m very lucky 😀 I hope Mom Person has a GREAT time at the festival and shares on your blog, too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, but not as busy as it could’ve been! As you know, I’m more into the conversation than the photos 😀 lol I like to spend the whole day, getting there before the beginning, and usually not leaving ’til the very end (or so). If that works for you, maybe we’ll be able to go together! We’ll see how things go 🙂


    • Glad you enjoyed them, Cynthia 🙂 Not bad for my little phone 😉 I loved actually getting to be there. What a day! 😀 (And thanks so much for all your comments. I really appreciate it! 🙂 )


    • Thanks for stopping by, Sherrie, and especially for the comment 🙂 Yes, it was a fantastic day. The second time I’ve gone. If there’s any way to be there, definitely do it! You will LOVE it! It’s held about the same time every year 😀 One thing I can advise is start saving your pennies! 😀


    • Alexis, thank you so much for commenting on this old post! I’m SO glad you liked it 😀 And if you want to see more, I have quite a few posts on festivals after this one. I hope you enjoy 😀


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