Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 National Book Festival

Even though today's destination was the National Book Festival, we got to Washington, DC with about an hour to spare.  So we headed over to the National Archives to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  Evelyn has slowly been making her way through a Thomas Jefferson biography, and she just read about the writing of those two documents.  It was perfect timing for her to see the real deals.
 After seeing the National Archives and grabbing some lunch, it was Book Festival time.  Troy came with us this year to help with the tricky timing of seeing the two authors on our list.  We girls listened to Patricia Polacco's author talk at 12:55, while Troy headed over to the author signing line for Polacco (which started at 2:00).  Patricia Polacco, who has written and illustrated over 40 picture books, was very entertaining and insightful, and Evelyn enjoyed listening to her talk (Julia, well, she wasn't too terribly squirmy).  We especially liked hearing about where she gets the ideas for her stories.
 After Polacco's presentation was over at 1:40, we girls walked to the other end of the book festival to stand in her signing line.  (Troy wasn't done being a line-holder, yet; we needed his help with another author.)  Here's a cute picture of the girls - they are the next ones in line to have Polacco sign their books, and you can just see the eager anticipation on their faces.  I can't believe she's right there!  Is it our turn now?  How about now?  Can we go now?
 We're in!  Patricia Polacco didn't personalize the signings, but she did sign all five of our books (wow!).  She also took the time to chat with us for a bit.  The picture below is right after Evelyn told Polacco that her name is the same as Polacco's 1st-grade teacher (also a clue that we were paying attention at her presentation).  Polacco's response was, "Is it really?"  We also found out what the inspiration was behind one of our favorite books, For the Love of Autumn - it's based on two strangers she met on a train trip long ago.  It's so cool to learn this stuff!
 Avi, the second author on our list, was scheduled for book signing at after our visit with Patricia Polacco, that's where we found Troy, holding our place in that line.  Julia was basically done with waiting in lines (can you blame her?), so she and Troy headed across the street to visit the Museum of American History.  Meanwhile, Evelyn and I parked ourselves on the grass.  Since we're at a book festival, it only made sense to read while waiting, right?  (Evelyn is reading the aforementioned Polacco book.)
 As we got closer and closer to Avi's table, the book-signing news got more and more bleak.  It went from signing three books to two books to only one book per person (we had hoped for five books - eek!).  I figured Evelyn and I each count as a person, so we were able to get two books signed in all.  Avi has written over 60 books, mostly chapter books, and his genres vary greatly.  Evelyn is almost finished with Book 1 in the Poppy series, so she chose to have the second book (titled Poppy) signed.  While signing her book, Avi told Evelyn that having a gap between your two front teeth is supposed to be a sign of good luck...he also has a gap there.  Then, once he was finished signing Poppy, Avi asked Evelyn if she had met Ereth, yet.  When she said no, she hadn't, he gave a sly little smile.  Let me tell you, we cannot wait to find out who this Ereth character is!
 We had some time to dink around before Avi's presentation at 4:35, so we met up with Troy and Julia for an ice cream treat.  I haven't mentioned, yet, the incredible parking spot I got this morning - we parked right on the mall, so we frequently made stops at the car throughout the day.
All four of us listened to Avi's presentation, and 75% of us really enjoyed it.  Evelyn was brave enough to go up to the microphone and ask him a question:  What's it like being a writer?  At first, the question stumped him.  He really had to think about it.  Then he came up with the answer - being a writer is like seeing everything in the world as a writer, everything has a beginning middle and end.  This really struck a chord with Evelyn.  She always comes up with story ideas on her own, and she writes story both by hand and on the computer.  I wonder if our Peanut will publish a book someday?  At the end of his presentation, I noticed people went up to Avi, asking him to sign Evelyn and I snuck over there and asked him to sign one more book, Julia's book, The End of the Beginning; this is when we found out where he got the characters' names for that book - Edward is named after him (his legal name), and Avon is a good friend of his (also a writer).  He he even remembered Evelyn from earlier that day, with her lucky gap.