What a perfect fall weekend for the Library of Congress to host their 12th Annual National Book Festival on the National Mall! Thousands of people flocked to this event on September 22nd and 23rd to meet their favorite authors, play interactive games, and of course, to buy books.
A childhood favorite of mine, Goosebumps series author R.L.Stine (who wrote his first book in 1992!) made an appearance in the Family Storytelling Stage, telling ghost stories and later signing copies of his latest book. In the young-adult tent, Lois Lowry read from her yet to be released new book in the Giver series, Son, which was for sale at the festival. A big hit this year was biographer Walter Isaacson, author of bestseller Steve Jobs. Other notable appearances included Pulitzer Prize winning authors Thomas Friedman, Philip Roth and Junot Diaz, as well as Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Internationally recognized artist Rafael Lopez, known for his illustrations in childrenâ€™s books, designed all poster art for the festival.
Strollers and laughing children were everywhere â€“ this was definitely a welcoming event for families. Targetâ€™s Family Storytelling Stage featured nonstop performances all day as well as educational activities for the kids.
The PBS Kid’s Pavilion had photo opps with PBS characters and more fun games.
The Letâ€™s Read America Pavilion included Clifford (the big red dog)â€™s Birthday Corner, a chance to go inside a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and a LEGO Read & Build Area. I think all the kids there would agree that learning can be fun!
This event couldnâ€™t have happened without all the volunteers! Below, Allison, Jen, Michelle, and Emily were among the hundreds of Junior League of Washington volunteers that turn out every year to help support this event. JLW focuses on literacy initiatives, so for the past 10 years they have helped and they now provide the largest number of volunteers after the Library of Congress.
Although I was disappointed not to see Honorary Chairs President and Mrs. Obama, this festival met all my expectations and I will continue to make it a fall tradition. In an era of e-readers, kindles and iPads, and as someone who has yet to convert, it was refreshing to see kids and adults holding newly signed copies of withered, loved books…and scouring the book sale tent find new ones.
Correspondent Karen Garnick is a California native trying to get accustomed to the East Coast lifestyle (and weather!). By day, she works as an event planner for a think tank, and by night you can find her out on the town. She is a world traveler, loves baby animals, and enjoys curling up to a good book and glass of wine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.