Sunday, May 20, 2012

Children's Festival of Reading

I can not tell you how thankful I am to live in a place where the library has such a prevalent role in the community. I sometimes complain about the slowness in the availability of some titles (particularly in the Teen section) but most of the time I know that for a city this size the library is phenomenal. The Children's Festival of Reading reminds me of this every year. It is our annual kick off to the summer reading program. There are several tents with events going on all day. Storytellers, musicians, authors. The zoo does a presentation. There is a quartet from our orchestra who comes and plays.

And it is all free.

My kids LOVE it.

Here is a recap of some of the fun we had this year:

 That is Bit and the Little Man looking at a tarantula. It eats birds. Shudder. One of the animals brought by the zoo. Like always the presentation was fresh and informative. A horrifying story about what a spider wasp would do to the tarantula was reshared by Bit at dinner. Because hearing it once wasn't enough for all of us. Also learned: frogs swallow with their eyes; there are mini boas slithering around North America. (They brought one of those too. It was cute. For a snake.)

Gail Carson Levine, one of this year's featured authors, doing a talk and Q and A session. This was really interesting. She read some from her poetry book Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems. She also had a lot of interesting things to say about the writing process I'm glad Bit was able to hear from someone else. (She is complaining about editing and rewriting an awful lot. She kept looking at me during the presentation and sighing as if I had conspired with Gail Carson Levine to have the subject addressed. Yet she also indicated in our conversation afterward that she found the information useful.) My favorite part of this was when one of the young audience members asked if she thought the movie for Ella Enchanted did the book justice. (Those were the exact words she used. She looked to be middle school age.)  I also found it interesting that she uses a baby name book for character names at times.
Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm were also there as a featured author and a featured illustrator. Bit was particularly excited about this as she is a huge Baby Mouse fan. Notice how she has parked herself right in front of them. (That being where the only available shade was probably had something to do with her location as well.) Jennifer and Matthew are as dynamic a team presenting as they are creating graphic novels. Matthew drew Baby Mouse and Squish right up there on the stage. Bit was really impressed by him and the quickness of his Baby Mouse drawing abilities. She had been taking for days about how she was excited about seeing Jennifer in person but it was Matthew she talked about all afternoon after that. She asked them during the Q and A where they got all the Baby Mouse ideas from. Jennifer answered that it would be wise to remember every bad thing that ever happens to you in elementary school. Hopefully traumatic school experiences won't be giving Bit too many future story ideas as she is homeschooled.
And here she is having her Baby Mouse book signed by them. Note the color of the shirt she chose to wear today:

That book was read three times before we returned home. With many pauses for her to stare at the place where they signed it and Matthew drew in Baby Mouse with a marker.

As always we loved the Festival and now the kids have their reading logs for the summer reading program. Bit as an independent reader has to read for fifteen hours. Which means she will be done with the challenge by Wednesday.

Much thanks to Knoxville, the Knox County Library for organizing, and all the librarians and volunteers  I saw working there tirelessly all day while keeping smiles on their faces (you can see some of them in the background of that last picture with the blue shirts on).


  1. Wait. Is she wearing PINK? I love everything about this post.

    1. She is indeed wearing pink. In honor of her favorite pink comic book heroine.

  2. Sad that we missed it, but SO glad you got to go!!