Last 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!
For 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, 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:
Floyd Cooper (with his wife and son):
Leeza Hernandez (with an aspiring illustrator whose name I believe was Anne. I’ll try to find out!):
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:
And here’s Kelly generously sketching her characters for me, her books having ALL SOLD OUT! :D:
Robin Newman (soon-to-be published author):
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 🙂
Can’t help but be HAPPY about all this! 😀 😀 😀