Sunday, August 19, 2012

October 15, 2011 Texas Book Festival!!!

One of my favorite weekends of the year is the annual Texas Book Festival!!  They bring in SUCH AMAZING authors!  Now, I'm a huge fan of children's literature.  One day I'll write a book or two but for now, it's just on the Bucket List.  However, I love children's books, always have.  Every October they bring in about 20-30 huge authors in the field in Austin, on the capital grounds.  It's a FREE event!  Only they ask you to buy books from their Barnes and Noble tents, as a fundraiser.  Now, I have to be honest with you, I bring probably 40-50 of my own personal books.  But I am beyond author-stalking here.  I mean I love, LOVE a few of the authors you're going to see here...so I hope they know it's not about stiffing them on the money it's about getting my beloved copies signed.  I always make sure to spend plenty at the tents but I also get plenty copies for free. :)  Last year (2010) I went with my friend Deborah, but this year (2011) I had about 40 books in a backpack and about 15 others in a book bag and lugged myself all over the children's area going from line to line getting my signatures. 
The first author I had the COMPLETE pleasure to meet with Louis Sachar.  I got in line pretty early on so I only had to wait about 3-4 people.  As soon as he showed up I was literally shaking, kind of like some people would be for Brad Pitt or President Obama.  But you have to understand I've read his books for 20 years!  I love every single one of them.  I read them in my classroom constantly!  I see my 8 year old boys hate reading when they walk in to my room and walk out of my class with a book in their face, bumping into the wall with his books.  He wasn't very talkative but I got my OWN copy of Wayside School signed so I was flying high with adrenaline and excitement!
As I was waiting for the next signing I saw Phil Bildner hanging out.  He came to my school two years ago to talk to the kids.  He writes a lot of stories that my third grade boys loved!  A lot about sports and historical fiction.  I wanted to go introduce myself but so many other women were and I didn't want to lose my place in line, lol.  For the record, though, he is a great presenter and wonderful for author visits!
I didn't have time to go listen to him speak but was excited to see Kadir Nelson and get his autograph on a few of my classroom books.  Henry's Freedom Box is one of my favorite historical fiction books for kids.  His illustrations are AMAZING.  If you click on the link you will not be disappointed!  Although not very friendly, he just kind of held his hands out for my books...it was great to get his autographs on all the copies of his books that I had in my classroom.  Next time I hit Half Priced Books I need to look for more of his books.  I hope he returns because I have more books I'd like to get signed. :)
As I was walking away from Kadir Nelson's table I saw Louis Sachar again signing books.  I was so pumped!!!
Then I saw Bob Shea signing copies of his new book.  He writes for younger children but I found a copy of Big Plans that he illustrated with Lane Smith, the first author/illustrator I ever met.  This book is really inspirational to me and my students and talks about all the big plans we make in life and never to let anyone tell you they are too big.  Can I just say he was a SUPER nice guy, so humble to know my kids love his book.  I really enjoyed talking to him.
One of the other authors I most enjoyed meeting was Barney Saltzberg.  I purchased Crazy Hair Day at the Barnes and Noble tent beside the tables.  He was such a blast to meet.  We talked about teaching young kids and ended up giving me around 100 bookmarks to take back to my classroom.  I absolutely love the book and have a fun time with crazy hair days in the classroom. :)  Loved him and hope to see him again to get some other books signed.
Then I got to meet Marla Frazee who is both an author and illustrator.  I brought my copy of Clementine that I got signed the year before by Sara Pennypacker.  Ms. Frazee illustrated it so I got her to sign my book as well.  She has written a few books but I didn't have them with me.  Since they're all $15 to purchase I had to go a bit easy and didn't purchase any of her picture books.  But she was still very nice and willing to sign my book.
Then I looked at my schedule to see who was signing before my most anticipated signing in the afternoon.  I saw that Nancy Tillman was signing.  She writes picture books that are great for reading to children before bed.  I went to the Barnes and Noble side of the tent and found The Crown on Your Head.  It was so touching I had to get a copy.  She was really sweet and left handed!! :)
THEN MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE WHOLE WEEKEND!!!
I was trying to listen to the volunteers and organizers make the line for Doreen Cronin and made sure to get in the front of the line.  I was probably about the 7th-8th person in line (in the worst company ever, people surrounding me were idiots).  I brought EVERY Doreen Cronin book I owned (either 7 or 9, I can't be sure).  Now, you have to understand, the authors are signing "TO MISS ALEXANDER"S CLASS" so it takes a lot of writing.  She signed ALL of them!!!!  We talked about her daughter who was in 2nd grade and I told her how much we enjoy her books.  She was SO nice and it was probably the highlight of the entire weekend!!!
After Doreen Cronin I got to meet the esteemed Rosemary Wells.  I know her best for her Mrs. Bindergarten's Kindergarten books...and from watching Max and Ruby with my nephews.  She was nice...not very engaging or talkative.
She really writes for all ages.  I also had her sign a copy of one of the books in my classroom.
Then I went to get a classroom book signed by Michelle Knudsen.  She writes a variety of books for young children and teens.  I love The Library Lion and had just got it (for Free) from Scholastic Book Clubs and she was nice enough to sign it even though it wasn't purchased from the tent.
As I was leaving the Capitol grounds I saw this protest yelling and hollering to stop executions.  Lol, sorry but in Texas?  They got their work cut out for them!! However, as someone who wants to revolutionize the way of politics in this country I was proud to see people using their First Amendment rights to voice their opinions.
The view of the Texas State Capitol never gets old...
Love it peaking over the tall trees when you walk up to it from the Capitol parking garage.
Zoomed a bit more...

After I took some more pictures I left.  And, in true Brandy fashion, I hit up Half Priced Books to get some more books for Sunday's line up.  I spent way too much money but I was in book heaven all day, so I was pumped.  I had booked a room at the Hampton Inn outside of Austin and just read books and blogged all night (it was fabulous).  The next day I had more authors to stalk!
I tried to take this picture as my "title picture" for my other blog.  It showcases the book festival tents in front of the Capitol Building.
I hung around for Sunday because of this wonderful woman, Kate DiCamillo!!  I had got some of her books the night before at Half Priced Books to save some money, lol.  She was very nice and I loved getting some of her books signed!  I read Because of Winn Dixie when I was a kid so it was great to get it signed, along with The Tale of Despereaux which I just love.  She creates such great characters!
It was fun to meet David Davis.  He's a "hoot" as some say.  His books are really funny and my kids love them, especially Zeke and the Longhorn which is great to teach Texas' symbols.  I've seen him at a lot of author signings...so therefore have many of his books signed. :)  That never gets old!
After I was finished with David Davis I snapped this shot of the long line for Kate DiCamillo.  I was probably the 5th person in line. :)  Lol, after that I snapped a few shots, went around to the booths one more time and hit the room back to Houston!
One more of my favorite shots of the capitol......I just does NOT get old to me!  (And hopefully my future employer!)
Seeing as I'm moving to Austin next year I'm hoping to volunteer with the Texas Book Festival, as long as none of my authors are there...because then I will be in line getting signatures. :)

I can't wait for another 2 months when I'll be back the last weekend of October!

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