Friday, July 18, 2014

Kate (the Great) DiCamillo Is Coming!

Yes, the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature AND the current Newbery Medalist is coming to my library! If you're in the Washington, D.C. area, mark your calendars for Friday, August 29 at 7 p.m., when Kate will speak in the auditorium of the Takoma Park (Maryland) Community Center, which connects to our library. I'll be moderating (whoo-hoo!) the program; I've been told that Kate likes to do a Q & A format at her programs. Then she'll sign books afterwards.

How did my library, which is, after all, tiny -- as well as the only small, city-run library in Maryland -- get the honor of hosting the great Kate DiCamillo? Well, chalk it up to our partnership with Politics & Prose Bookstore, the independent bookstore in DC.

A couple of years ago, the P&P folks asked if we'd like to partner with them on author events; we provide the space for the events, and they provide the authors. Talk about a deal for us  See, P&P has more authors for events than they have space and time on their store calendar, which is why they reached out to us and to several other libraries in the area to see if we could form a partnership. The benefits for my library are immense because we get to host authors we never could afford to pay to come. P&P sells books at the events for people who'd like to have the visiting author personally sign their volume, but no purchase is required to attend any of the programs.
Ben Hatke

Recent authors whom we have hosted with P&P include graphic novelist Ben Hatke, of Zita the Spacegirl fame, Llama Llama picture book creator Anna Dewdney, and internationally-acclaimed author/illustrator Maira Kalman.

And now Kate DiCamillo! She's actually coming to DC for the National Book Festival, which will be held indoors for the first time on Saturday, August 30 at the Washington Convention Center. It was Kerri Poore, energetic coordinator of children's & teen events at Politics & Prose, who had the brilliant idea to ask Kate's publisher, Candlewick Press, if she might be willing to tack on an extra event the night before the festival. Lo and behold, she was!

I've interviewed Kate several times and so know how amazingly nice she is. Still I have to admit that I'm a tad nervous about moderating the program.
But I know that Kate will put me, and the audience, right at ease, as we talk about her ambassadorial platform -- "Stories connect us" -- her latest Newbery-winning book, the utterly delightful Flora & Ulysses, her newest book, LeRoy Ninker Saddles Up, and more. It's sure to be a wonderful night, so watch this space for a wrap-up right after it happens.

Kate's not the only author we're co-hosting this fall with P&P at the Takoma Park Maryland Library. Our partnership with P&P has produced a great line-up of children's (and adult) authors who will be speaking in our library's Children's Room (that's where we generally host authors and illustrators; hosting Kate in the auditorium is an exception).

For example, at 7 p.m. on August 28 -- just the night before Kate speaks -- Caldecott Honor author/artist Peter Brown will be talking about his newest picture book, My Teacher Is a Monster! (No I Am Not). It's great timing because that's the first week of school around here, so Brown's pitch-perfect, comic send-up of teacher-student dynamics should draw a good crowd of preschoolers and early elementary-age students.

Other upcoming events include: graphic novelist Eleanor Davis, who will talk about her new adult short story collection, How to Be Happy, on Monday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m.; a trio of middle-grade authors -- Annie Barrows, E.D. Baker and Jessica Day George -- who will talk about their latest books on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m.; and author Shannon Hale, talking about The Princess in Black, the launch of a new early chapter series, on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. I'll be blogging about each event as they occur, so stay tuned for more!

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