Living in the Washington DC metro area has its share of negatives– nonstop traffic, overcrowded schools and an always-present partisan mindset, to name just a few. All of these annoyances melt away once the September calendar page is turned though, because the anticipation for my favorite Saturday of the year begins to build. Since 2001, the Library of Congress has hosted the penultimate event for booklovers- The National Book Festival, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend for the majority of these nine years.
This year marked a significant change in my approach to the Festival. Rather than stand in the long, long lines for author signings, I planned to simply fill our day with as many author talks in the various pavilions as possible. I regretted my inability to clone myself as I first laid eyes on the list of diverse and incredibly successful authors scheduled to appear. The biggest difference, however, would come with the Press Pass that I was able to qualify for as one of your industrious reviewers here on 5M4B! With access to the Media Tent, I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing two amazing children’s authors, Craig Hatkoff and Mo Willems.
Now, before my current gig as amateur book reviewer/blogger and professional stay-at-home-mom, I spent ten years as a preschool teacher, so you can imagine that children’s literature holds a very, very special place in my heart, as it always did in my classroom. I routinely emphasized to my children that the books they loved, the books they cuddled with on their cots at naptime and turned to for entertainment and information, all came from a person. Each book began as someone’s idea, and the power behind that concept, I hope, helped to instill a deeper respect for the joy that we call books. When I had the opportunity to sit down with both Craig Hatkoff and Mo Willems, I was humbly reminded of that idea firsthand. From the silly antics of the determined Pigeon to the inspiring story of friendship by Owen and Mzee and all the other titles among them, these two gentlemen have created an impressive library of work.
So, what about the interviews? I was thrilled to listen as Craig Hatkoff, a success in the business, philanthropy and entertainment worlds, described how he wanted to leave a lasting impact on the world through writing children’s books. I was shocked to hear that Mo Willems despises his books for the first six months after they’re released. (Hard to tell when he’s being serious or not… I think there’s a mixture of both truth and exaggeration in that one.) But most of all, it was my extreme pleasure simply to have conversations with two gentlemen whose ideas have become the very books that I treasure reading to my own children. Thank you to Craig, Mo and all the other minds behind the books. You have my eternal respect and admiration!
If you’re interested in reading more about my interviews, head over to my posts at my thoughts exactly about interviewing Craig Hatkoff and Mo Willems for some insights into their work.
Books and blogging are nice ingredients for a happy life according to Dawn. Add in a cute hubby and three wacky kids and you have the recipe for her blog, my thoughts exactly.
Jennifer (5 Minutes for Books) says
This is so exciting. It really is exciting to peek into the heads of those authors who create what we love.
I too, live in the DC area. This year was my first Book Festival. It was so much fun, but I spent the majority of my time standing in line to get Paula Deen’s signature. In reality, I wanted to see/hear Jodi Picoult, my childhood fave Judy Blume, and many others, and instead I spent all that time just awaiting Mrs. Deen. Next year I’m scrapping the signatures and just hanging out to listen to the authors (I at least got to hear James Patterson speak!). How awesome for you to get to interview some authors though!