I have only been to one UCLA book festival before, and had forgotten my aversion to big crowds. (I am presuming that only half of the reported 130,000 visitors were there on Saturday). I fought my way through the crowd on my way to the Children’s Stage, and stopped to catch my breath at the top of the Janss Steps. The view from there of the crowds and the jaunty, pointy-topped white tents was one I would love to have captured – but I had forgotten my trusty camera!
I visited the booths of my favorite local indie book stores: Flintridge, Storyopolis, Every Picture Tells a Story, Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop, Skylight Books, and Vromans, all crammed with book lovers of all ages. I foolishly didn’t think I would buy any books. (See how wrong I was?)
I really went to see authors and illustrators. I particularly enjoyed seeing our own SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver with co-writer Henry Winkler, entertaining the crowd with their latest in the Hank Zipzer series (#17!! Hank Zipzer: A Brand New Me!) They were so charming and generous, giving pairs of books (one to keep, one to share with a friend) to children in the audience. Also saw David Shannon, the featured illustrator this year, who signed heaps and heaps of books. I love his work, especially the No, David! series. His new book is Robot Zot!
It was a fun day – beautiful weather, authors (400!) and illustrators and books, books and more books. Who could ask for more?