So much is going on in DC for book lovers next week that my head is spinning in that good way of little kids doing the helicopter for no reason.
Children’s book icon Katherine Patterson is speaking at the Washington Children’s Book guild on Thursday, September 22, after which I will zoom over to the Library of Congress to be in the audience for the the Americas Awards at the Library of Congress that will honor Pam Muñoz Ryan (Echo) and Ashely Hope Perez (Out of Darkness) – two authors who published exceptional books last year. If you’re a teacher, you might want to register for the workshops with the fantastic Alma Flor Ada to be held that night. Co-sponsored by Teaching for Change, it’s inexpensive, and you’ll be in excellent hands.
Then, of course, comes the big one: The National Book Festival on Sat., Sept 24. I’m honored to be on the roster of authors this year, where I’ll bring a little disco inferno to the capital with a talk about Burn Baby Burn.
That ought to be enough, but this year, I’m staying into the night because (DRUMROLL) I’m a judge for the teen poetry slam, a standing room only event. (Here’s info and video from last year.) Aaahhh! I can’t tell you how much I love spoken performance (and how much I secretly long to do this myself.) In this case, teens from around the country will come to compete in this event. There’s a special guest judge, too – that I’m not allowed to name (and it’s killing me.)
I hope you’ll put the festival on your calendar, especially if you’ve never attended. You can visit the capital, and regardless of your reading preferences, you’ll find plenty to suit your taste. Me? I plan to be in the audience for as many panels as I can. The scheduling gods have been good to me, so I’ll be free to catch Stephen King on the main stage. It’s true that I’m squeamish about being terrified by what I’m reading, but his memoir about the writing process, On Writing, remains one of the books I return to for comfort. Anything he has to say about writing and maintaining a career in writing is gold as far as I’m concerned.
Meanwhile, here’s the podcast to whet your appetite. I spoke with Karen Jaffe, Executive Director at the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress, about research, feminism, and why anyone who’s 16 today would care about 1977. Enjoy.