Today marked my first visit to BookExpo America, and boy, was it fun. I got up before the crack of dawn to make it to the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, hosted by the one and only Julie Andrews. That voice… All of the sudden it didn’t matter that I was sleepy and uncaffeinated and soaked by rain. It felt more like I was warming up with a cup of tea in an English cottage. I only wish she sang. (Tomie dePaolo belted out “The hills are alive…” a little later, knowing what the crowd was thinking.)
The first speaker was Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, and Airhead. I’ll say straight up, I’ve never read any of Meg Cabot’s books, but I found her so hilarious and entertaining, especially when conveying her autobiographical details, that I aim to start reading ASAP. Here’s little taste of Meg Cabot hilarity I found on her website:
Next up was the equally entertaining Tomie dePaolo, who has more than 200 books to his credit, including, of course, the Caldecott-winning Strega Nona. He told the story of how Strega Nona came to be. I’d try to recount it but would lack the necessary charm, so here it is on Tomie’s website. He added, “I don’t write Strega Nona books. Strega Nona channels them through me.” Strega Nona’s latest channeling effort produced the remarkable pop-up book, Brava Strega Nona!
Last to speak was Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of Duck! Rabbit!. There’s so much I want to say about her that she’s getting her own post.
After breakfast, it was time to stalk celebrity authors. I got to say hello to Mo Willems and Amy Krouse Rosenthal at the autographs tables, and I thrust myself in Suzanne Collins’ face to tell her how much I love Gregor and Hunger Games. Not five minutes after that I joined the literary masses at the Scholastic booth for an ARC of Catching Fire, her follow up to Hunger Games. I can’t wait to devour this book.
There were lots of great books as I walked the floor of the Children’s Pavilion. I said hello to Handstand Kids and got a look at their new cookbooks. One of the best books I found while walking around is I’m Not Afraid of This Haunted House by Laurie Friedman, illustrated by Teresa Murfin. It’s written in verse with the repeated refrain, “I’m Simon Lester Henry Strauss and I’m not afraid of this haunted house.” I must remember this one for Halloween.
Even more amazing was seeing my books in print. Check ‘em out! (For greater impact I thought I’d show you my books next to one of the books that Rosemary Wells wrote for Learn to Read.)