It had been a few years since I had been to the Twin Cities Book Festival. Once it moved to St. Paul, I let the distance (and my non-driving status) keep me home. This year, I’m back behind the wheel of a car, so I thought I’d check out what I’d been missing.
I found a bigger and better book festival in the new location with something to interest book lovers of all ages. I brought my six-year-old daughter, so we spent most of our time in the Children’s Pavilion. From the moment we arrived, we were swept into the fun. It started with meeting Bad Kitty, playing Moo! the game, and playing Legos. From there it was one story, performance, or science demo after another.
The highlight for me was Lauren Stringer. I have loved her illustrations for a long time, and a book she wrote and illustrated, Winter is the Warmest Season, is one of my favorite winter picture books. Her latest book is Deer Dancer written by Mary Lyn Ray, and she turned the reading into a performance with a ballerina as the deer. It really brought the book alive, and the kids in the audience loved to see the dancer up close. Stringer also shared a bit about her illustration process by showing the journal/sketchbook she created as she worked on the book. I loved that she advised readers to take note of the end pages. They are there to set the mood of the book, she said. In Deer Dancer the end pages should give you the sense of entering the forest.
If I had to guess, I think my daughter would say her highlight was the Kitchen Pantry Science Lab. I mean, there was a paper bag volcano, cornstarch goblin goo, and several other really cool experiments. It was messy and full of surprises for the kids. What more could you ask for? Well, the book, I suppose. My daughter declared we just had to buy the Kitchen Science Lab for Kids. We can’t wait to get a copy and try some of the experiments at home.
I could go on. It was a great day, full of great bookish fun. You can see some of my pictures on my photo blog, but I highly recommend that you make sure to attend next year. I know I will.