Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Texas Book Festival: 2019

The Texas Book Festival is my birthday treat every year. We only managed to work in one day this year, but it was a delightful day.

I love to pick out a fun place to stay each time. We've slept in a tiny house and in a covered wagon in the past.

This time we stayed in a vintage camper. It was fun and quirky. If only the potty wasn't in the shower!

The next morning, fueled by a stop at Ihop, we hit the festival grounds centered on and around the Texas Capitol.

The Kirkus finalists panel was chockful of my favorite amazing writers and illustrators: Kirkus Nonfiction Prize Winner Saeed Jones; Kirkus Young Readers Prize Winner Jerry Craft; Kirkus Young Readers Prize Finalist Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson; Kirkus Young Readers Prize Finalist Lauren Castillo. 

Kwame Alexander, whose amazing book The Undefeated lost out on the Kirkus to Jerry Craft for New Kid, shared this story. After the awards were announced, Alexander called home. His wife said, "Tell me the good news." Alexander's son, a sixth grader, said, "Please tell me New Kid won." The audience loved Alexander's story.

 From left to right: Jerry Craft, Lauren Castillo, Kwame Alexander, and Kadir Nelson.

There was a huge line to get in to see Big, Wonderful Thing: A New History of Texas author Stephen Harrigan. Harrigan told us he wanted to bring a casualness, a sense of fun to the history of Texas. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

I spent a while in the Read to Me Tent. Isabel Quintero read her picture book My Papi Has a Motorcycle. I recorded Quintero reading the book here.

A New Home author and illustrator Tania de Regil read her book and taught us how to draw using simple shapes.

I returned later to the Read to Me Tent to hear Raúl the Third (Raul Gonzales) read ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market. I also heard Julie Fogliano, Christian Robinson, and Grace Lin share their books.

Pamela Paul, the New York Times Book Review editor, has a new book, How to Raise a Reader, so I had to go hear her panel discuss ways to help children develop a love for reading. One person in the audience raised a question I'm still thinking about: These ideas are great for parents and teachers and librarians who love books and who have ways to acquire books, the fellow said. But how can we reach children who don't have parents who love to read, children who don't have school libraries, children who aren't taken to libraries and bookstores? 

There couldn't be a better way to end my day at the book festival than with Australian children's author Andy Griffiths. Such a funny man.

But my favorite part of the festival is, as always, simply seeing so many people reading and loving books.


  1. What a lovely visit, thank you for sharing with us. "Wet rooms" though, aka potty in the shower - ewww. Never a fan.

  2. Hello Deb,

    That looks like a wonderful gathering of illustrious authors and avid readers. Must have been extraordinary.

    The camper sounds fun too.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    Our #WW linky is now live:

  3. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend your birthday. Sadly, our state no longer has a book festival.

  4. Your vintage camper is what we call acaravan here in the UK
    That was quite a collection of autors to see at the festival

  5. wow, what a treatment. nice of them to hold a festival for your birthday. LOL
    sherry @ fundinmental

  6. Deb,

    I slept in camper once that had the potty in with the shower, too. All I can say, it was a good thing that I wasn't claustraphobic. My word it was a tight fit and that's coming from someone who's small. lol It looks like you had a lot of fun. Thanks for visiting today and linking up. ;)

  7. Book/Author events are so great for the feeling of solidarity with other readers/book lovers. Your day sounds absolutely fantastic.

  8. I'm so glad you had a good time. Thanks for the pictures and captions--the next best thing to being there.


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