Monday, April 27, 2015

The 2015 L.A. Times Festival Of Books - Highlights, and a Publishers Weekly Shout-Out

What a great festival!

Left to right, on the YA Stage: Adam Rex, Melissa de la Cruz, Me(!) and Pseudonymous Bosch

My panels of PB and MG superstars were amazing, the audiences enthusiastic (and smart!) and overall a great book-loving time was had by all. Some of my highlights:

1. The seven-year old in the audience asking Salina Yoon if the trees in her Bear series weren't the same trees as in her Penguin series. (This after Salina had said the two worlds don't overlap.) Salina admitted they were the same trees, and had even considered giving one of the Bear-book trees a scarf (a penguin-book theme.) The young person who asked was delighted, and the 100+ people in the audience were too. Everyone applauded the young reader.

2. Starting the introductions of my MG panel with Adam Rex, Melissa de la Cruz, and Pseudonymous Bosch by saying, "Okay, let's start with the hardest name to pronounce first..." And Adam jumping in and saying, "It's Adam, Lee. Adam." Everyone cracked up (including me!) and it was a hilarious and fascinating ride from there.

3. Getting to spend time with friends and kid lit industry peeps including Jo Knowles, Martha Brockenbrough, Suzanne Young, Steven Reigns, Julie Strauss-Gabel, Aaron Hartzler, Greg Pincus, Rita Crayon Huang, Michael Bourret, Dan Santat, Ken Wright, Holly Goldberg Sloan, and my awesome agent, Danielle Smith! (Who took the perfect photo above - thanks, Danielle!)

4. Hearing Jacqueline Woodson say, of her stunning Brown Girl Dreaming, "I wanted those mirrors on the page." YES!

5. Learning that Japan at one point was ruled by female shamans. (Marie Mutsuki Mockett shared this in her life-affirming panel on books about dying that also featured my friend Claire Bidwell Smith) I want to know more about that untold history!

6. Getting to see my friend and Open This Little Book author Jesse Klausmeier showing Levar Burton her picture book's dedication... to him. Awesome moment!

A shot I took on Jesse's camera for her, uploaded to her Instagram account

7. Oh, and this lovely shout-out in Publisher's Weekly for the festival featured my awesome panel of PB superstars!


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