I had a great time at The Big Read book festival yesterday: beautiful weather, talented authors, delicious gelato. Susan Meddaugh, of the Martha Speaks and other Martha books, brought a little photo album of her family’s beloved – a cute, very mixed breed girl with gorgeous brown eyes. Told that she was a dalmation-beagle, the vet said she has the barrel chest of a pit-bull. Ms. Meddaugh told us that the idea for Martha Blah Blah and the alphabet soup problem came from her 7-year-old son. Too bad for him, he does not get royalties as his allowance!
Linda Sue Park was quite the honored guest as MADCO dance company created an interpretation of a scene from her latest book, The Archer, which was delightfully performed by the 5th graders of a local school, assisted by the professional dancers. I left with a couple of autographed books, but missing the one I wanted the most: When My Name Was Keoko, about a Korean family’s experiences when the country is invaded by the Japanese during WWII. (Warning: Do not depend on onsite bookseller booths to have all of an author’s books available at an author signing! We missed Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller of Scrambled States of America fame, too.) Ms. Parks shared with me that the Keoko story is based on her own parents’ experiences merged with those of others’ of that time. This is a must-read for me!
I met several kids who wanted to be writers when they grew up. Meeting the authors is quite inspiring because we find they are for the most part “regular” people who get their ideas from real life moments and stories. Hey, maybe we can do that! Keep that writer’s notebook handy! Linda Sue Park provided the most thoughtful comment about writing. Answering an audience question from a young boy about how long it takes to finish a book, she said, “Each book is different. After you finish one, you think you know how to do it, but with the next book you find it is all different.”