Anica Lewis (anicalewis) wrote,
Anica Lewis
anicalewis

PSA: The Virginia Children's Book Festival is Fabulous

This past weekend, the third annual Virginia Children's Book Festival took place on Longwood University campus in Farmville, VA. I'm not affiliated with the festival except as a gleeful, starstruck visitor, but let me tell you: it is the best. They bring in some real rock stars of the writing and illustrating world for panel discussions, presentations, workshops, signings, and more. The local schools know what a great event this is: thousands of schoolkids of all ages are bused in, some from schools more than two hours away.

Oh, and did I mention the part where it's all free?

A few things I got to do at the festival:

  • Listen to Matt de la Peña talk about how he went from reluctant reader to author and Neal Shusterman explain how he develops book series


  • author Matt de la Peña

    author Neal Shusterman

  • Attend a lively, funny panel discussion wherein Rita Williams-Garcia told the story of how she missed the call announcing her third Coretta Scott King award, then waxed enthusiastic about using money made by her books to finally buy a new refrigerator


  • See author/illustrator John Rocco's fantastic presentation on how he makes book covers like the ones he did for the Percy Jackson series


  • Listen to Tim Tingle tell the story - accompanied by music! - of his picture book Crossing Bok Chitto


  • author Tim Tingle

  • Watch a panel of fantastic authors talk about civil rights in children's literature, with the event being held in the historic R.R. Moton museum


  • panel of authors

  • Hear Neal Shusterman and Christy Marx - who created the show Jem and wrote for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and more - discuss writing for TV shows and video games


  • Learn about how one writes a Choose Your Own Adventure book from Anson Montgomery, whose late father was a founder of the series


Despite all the classes of schoolkids who get bused in, there are absolutely oppportunities for one-on-one conversations with the authors and illustrators. They'll sign your book, take a photo with you, answer questions, smile patiently while you fangirl at them . . . it's great. If you get the chance to check out this festival, go for it. You'll be glad you did.
Tags: books i didn't write, conferences, fangirling
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