|From left: Annie Barrows, Jessica Day George & E.D. Baker|
Well, the fans certainly weren't disappointed. There was a real synergy with this trio of authors, each of whom spoke about how they started writing and why they particularly love magic and fantasy. There are many common threads, including the fact that all three are big on writing books about princesses who are strong females. They all also love to leaven their books with humor.
|E.D. Baker (Photo by Kimmy Bender)|
The just-published The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker is E.D.'s 15th book, and launches a new series. The book stars a tooth fairy who ditches her job and discovers some marvelous new magical talents. E.D. already has completed a sequel, which will be published next year.
Last night, E.D. told the audience that she's always enjoyed fairy tales "but I never liked the way young women were portrayed in them." That's exactly why none of E.D.'s protagonists are damsels in distress -- she wants to show her young readers that princesses definitely don't have to wait to be rescued but can go ahead and rescue themselves, and others too!
Annie Barrows, meanwhile, has written books for both kids and adults. Her adult book, written with her late aunt Mary Ann Shaffer, is the best-selling novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which has been published in 37 countries and in 32 languages. Annie also has struck gold with her first children's series, the Ivy + Bean books.
But Annie really wanted to write, and so left publishing to try to write full-time. The first Ivy + Bean book was published in 2006, and the 10 books in the series have become best-sellers and favorites of kids at the early chapter stage. While the Ivy + Bean books are realistic fiction, Annie longed to try writing a fantasy novel and so, in 2008, she published The Magic Half. Her newest book, Magic in the Mix, is the much-awaited sequel.
Jessica Day George says her life has revolved around the phrase "it's all about the books." She's serious; as she writes on her website: "My criteria for choosing a purse is that it must be able to fit a paperback book inside. I took books on my honeymoon, and bought more while we were there."
|Jessica Day George|
Jessica collects books about dragons and studied Old Norse in college so she could read the Viking sagas in the original language. Her first book, Dragon Slippers, was published in 2007, and immediately hooked readers with its humor and strong-willed protagonist. Since then Jessica has published nine more books, despite the fact that she has to fit her writing time in around caring for her three young children.
Jessica's latest book is Thursdays with the Crown, the latest in the Castle Glower series featuring Princess Celie and a moving castle. At our event, Jessica stressed that she writes "the kind of book I would have liked to read when I was younger."
After their presentations, the authors took questions from the audience. One of my favorites was asked by a little girl, tagging along with an older sister but still clearly spellbound. She asked the authors why they were holding up books. After getting over their initial laughter, the three explained that "this is what we do for work" and the books are the product of that work.
|Tired but happy young fans.|
Then it was time for the book signing, with many young fans moving from author to author to have their books signed. And then, sadly, it was time for the program to come to an end, but it was -- fortunately -- a happy ending, with young readers leaving with their noses already buried in their new books.
End notes: Thanks so much to Kerri Poore in the Children's Department of Politics & Prose for organizing the event, and to Lizzy Mason, associate director of publicity at Bloomsbury Children's, for offering us a program with such a great trio of authors. Thanks also to Lizzy for providing review copies to me of The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker, Magic in the Mix, and Thursdays with the Crown.