Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thousands Line Up for National Book Festival

Tens of thousands book-lovers walked the National Mall, between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, to hear from their favorite authors today. Even with threatening clouds, and a few raindrops, the crowds kept streaming into the 2009 National Book Festival for a number of activities. The Library of Congress Pavilion featured interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy, cultural preservation, and preserving digital media. The crowds attending the event were estimated at 130,000, according to the Library of Congress. Included in that count were the thousands of children who thrilled to see their favorite characters like Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Arthur, Curious George and others who were on hand to greet them.

This is the ninth year for the festival that features the nation's bestselling authors, like John Grisham, James Patterson, Judy Blume, Nicholas Sparks and Annette Gordon-Reed. The Librarian of Congress, Dr. James H. Billington kicked off the event with an official opening and presentation of the National Book Festival Creative Achievement Award to John Grisham.

Following the opening the book sellers were in full swing with huge lines to buy the latest releases, and past favorites. After waiting to buy the books thousands lined up at various tents where the authors would autograph their books. The wait was often hours long but that didn't deter these fans. In other pavilions authors talked about their works, ideas and favorite characters. A panel presentation with children's authors, Jon Scieszka, Mary Brigid Barrett, Kate DiCamillo, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Steve Kellogg and Megan McDonald lasted over an hour to a packed audience.

This festival brings together authors with millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, of books in prints, with a virtual who's who of awards. The quality of their work is represented in the number and variety of awards and recognition bestowed. The awards include everything from the Pulitzer, National Book Club awards, Edgar Awards, Newbery Awards and National Book Critics Circle awards to those nominated for Emmy's or Academy Awards when their book was made for television of the big screen.

Throughout the day interviews were broadcast on Book TV, podcast from facebook and even twitter updates. Podcasts will be available from the Library of Congress website or for free on iTunes. You can download the 2009 National Book Festival poster, illustrated by noted author/artist Charles Santore of Philadelphia from several areas on the Library of Congress website. Santore is the written and illustrated "The Silk Princess," "The Three Hungry Pigs" and "The Wolf Who Came to Diner. The poster was a favorite with thousands of them given away at the festival.

One of the popular pavilions was hosted by Target Corporation, one of the event sponsors, as they gave out canvas bags to waiting crowds. Inside their tent was Bullseye, the popular miniature bull terrier mascot, posing with children. Honorary Chairs for this event are President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

No comments: