This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Princeton Children’s Book Festival, my first book festival ever, and let me just say, “WOW!” In four tents, neatly set up in front of the Princeton Public Library, eighty children’s book author and illustrators sat at tables with their books. Folks young and old thronged around those tables perusing books, getting books signed, chatting with artists and writers and just enjoying the book-tingling excitement of being surrounded by so much creativity. That’s how I felt, anyway. Here are a few snapshots of some of the great authors and illustrators I met under those colorful tents, along with a friendly plug for their books.
My stunt-boy son quickly honed in on the very popular table hosted by Janet Tashjian and her son Jake Tashjian and immediately wanted a signed copy of MY LIFE AS A STUNT BOY (Henry Holt and Co. 2011), written by Janet with cartoon illustrations by her 19-year-old son, Jake. As soon as we got home from the Festival, my son read straight through his new book without stopping. Now he can’t wait to read the others in the series. For more on MY LIFE AS A STUNT BOY and Janet’s dozens of other great books check out her website.
I was delighted to find a former classmate and fellow children’s book writer under those colorful tents. Go Tigers! Julie Sternberg is the delightful and talented author of LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE (Abrams, 2011) and her new LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER (Abrams, 2013 ). My eight-year-old and I curled up with LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE after supper last night and were immediately hooked. For more on Julie and her books, check out her website.
As a mother of an Asian adopted child, I was captivated by Melissa Iwai’s beautifully written and illustrated SOUP DAY (Henry Holt and Co. 2010). SOUP DAY features an adoptive family, though the story itself does not pertain to adoption but to the joy of family togetherness and, of course, the joy of soup-making. My daughter and I enjoyed every tasty page and we look forward to trying the recipe at the end of the book. For more on Melissa Iwai’s books, visit her website.
Prior to the Festival I had “tweeted” with Denise Dowling Mortensen and own a copy of her adorable BUG PATROL (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), but this was my first time meeting her in person. She’s charming, just like her books, and in the “small world” category, I made a neat connection. The illustrator for her GOODNIGHT ENGINES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) and WAKE UP ENGINES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007) is none other than the talented Melissa Iwai, who I met just a couple of tables over. For more details on Denise’s books visit her blog.
As a rhymer, one of the joyful discoveries I made at the Princeton Book Festival is that good rhyming is thriving. At least six tables featured talented rhymers including the fabulous Tiffany Strelitz Haber. Her debut picture book, THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN (Henry Holt and Company, 2012) hit shelves a year ago and this year she’s celebrating the launch of OLLIE AND CLAIRE (Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013) as well as two ebooks: MORE CHEESE PLEASE and HUNGRY HARRY. For more about Tiffany and her books visit her online.
Last, but not least, I met Helen Perelman, an author completely new (to me) but already well-established as a fantastic early chapter book star. Her Candy Fairies series is adorable and I knew on the spot that it would be a hit with my eight-year-old. Just as I expected, my daughter loves CANDY FAIRIES: CHOCOLATE DREAMS (Simon and Schustter, 2010). I must also note that her give aways were the best. My daughter enjoyed the crossword puzzle and can’t wait to take her new Candy Fairies pencil to school. For more on Helen Perelman visit her website.
Happy reading and writing to all.