Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bookfest 2008

Well. Who knew that Brian Jacques was so funny?

After getting up early on Saturday morning, I headed over to the 42nd Street library, to take part in Bookfest 2008. Brian Jacques was the keynote speaker, and if you ever have a chance to hear this amazing author speak, you need to do so. After Jack Martin listed off his job descriptions prior to being an author, I knew that we were in for a treat.

Mr. Jacques told us stories. Stories about growing up in Liverpool. Stories about the library and second hand bookshop that he visited. Stories about his granddaughter Hannah, and about the children at a school for the blind that he used to read to. He told us stories about visiting schools, and the stories of the creations of some of his characters and some of the scenes that are found in the Redwall books. All of this was delivered with panache, and Jen and I found ourselves wiping the tears from our cheeks, we were laughing so hard.

Then it was time to switch gears and move on to book discussion. My group "Stories of Childhood" was well attended with attendees coming from all around New York State, and a few from Pennsylvania as well. We had a great discussion around the books, with Tasting the Sky, and The King of Mulberry Street garnering much of the attention. We were very privileged when Ibtisam Barakat sat down with us and became part of our group. The discussion became very passionate around the ideas of human rights, parenthood and writing outside of own experience.

The hour passed too quickly with a break for lunch where new and old friends could keep on talking books!

The afternoon brought an esteemed panel of Jeannette Winter, Ibtisam Barakat, and Walter Dean Myers discussing the timely topic of War and Peace in books for young people. Margaret Tice moderated, and each panelist spoke eloquently about why she or he wrote on the topic of war, and the tricky business of writing for young people.

Over all the day was inspiring and thought provoking. If you have never attended Bookfest before, do try it on for size if you are in the area. It is an amazing day!

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