Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Wrap-Up

This past weekend, Los Angeles Times held it's annual Festival of Books. For the past few years, it has been held at the University of Southern California Campus.  In the past, I attended as a regular participant.  I would attend panels or stop by the Children's Stage or the YA Stage and listen to various authors. However, this year, I had a chance to see the Festival from a different perspective.

I became an honorary bookseller and volunteered my time with Once Upon a Bookstore in Montrose. Owner, Maureen Palacios, and bookseller, Kris Vreeland have been fantastic in supporting literacy efforts in the schools that I work with. The least I could do was give some of my time to helping them out. The picture above was taken really early on Saturday morning.  We still had lots of energy at that time. 

When bookstores participate in the Festival, they basically have to set-up a store away from their brick and mortar location.  This meant a full-day of preparation the day before the event so that we could be ready bright and early on Saturday.

In addition to Once Upon a Time, the booth was sponsored by the following publishers - Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic.  With their great support, we had a full line-up of authors scheduled to sign books.

Even Clifford came to visit us and greet young fans.

My job for the weekend was to help with the author signings.  The awesome James Howe (Bunnicula, The Misfits) kicked-off the author signings for us.

One of my favorite authors, Doreen Cronin (above with bookseller Kris Vreeland) signed her new book Chicken Squad.

James Swanson (Chasing Lincoln's Killer) and David Shannon (No David) came in to sign books.

And yes, that is the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson (The Impossible Knife of Memory) of chatting with the vibrant, Angela DiTerlizzi (Some Bugs).

On Sunday morning, I stopped by the Penguin Truck and had a chance to get behind the wheel. Thanks Amy Comito (Penguin Rep) for inviting me over.

While I was there, I ran into one of my favorite Penguin Children's reps - Nicole White and her daughter.

Before things became too crazy, I also had a chance to chat with Ronna Mandel (Good Reads with Ronna), who was sporting A Girl Called Fearless T-shirt in honor of debut author, Catherine Linka.

Laurie Halse Anderson came back on Sunday to kick-off the morning signing and yes, that is teacher and Nerdy Book Club buddy, Cathy Blacker sharing a photo-op.

I actually got a copy of Doll Bones signed by the adorable, Eliza Wheeler.  Eliza did the illustrations for the book. Now I just need Holly Black's signature and I will be all set.

We had a great trio of authors signing mid-morning with (left to right) Anna Shinoda, Carrie Arcos, and Shannon Messenger.

Sadly, there were some times when I was so busy that I did not have a chance to take a picture of the talented and friendly authors that came by to sign.  I also heard that author, John Green signed for four hours somewhere at the Festival.

Though the Festival ended on Sunday evening, I had an opportunity to continue it into Monday evening by helping out at Once Upon a Time while they hosted Lin Oliver and Tomie de Paola.  I have used so many of Tomie's books in lessons so this was a special treat.  And what a super fantastic experience it was to hear Tomie speak.

Lin and Tomie signed their new book, Little Poems for Tiny Ears (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 2014).

And my highlight - getting my picture taken with Tomie.

Though my experience this year was so different than previous years, I still had a blast.  The staff of Once Upon a Time are super friendly and passionate about what they do and I was honored to spend so much time with them.