I was impressed by the festival I just attended in Rochester, New York. There were 44 authors and artists in a large room seated behind tables stacked with their books and ready to sign. At 10:00 a.m. the doors opened and people came flooding in. There were children, parents, teachers, librarians, and others in the crowd and they went around the room from table to table to meet the folks who created the books. Total attendance must have been in the thousands but I haven’t heard an official total.
Soon after I returned home I learned that a community literary center in Rochester, Writers & Books, recently awarded the Rochester Children’s Book Festival their Writers & Books Big Pencil Award, which is presented to “individuals and organizations that have impacted the appreciation of literature and contributed significantly in the advancement, creation, and understanding of literature in the Rochester community.”
I think that’s pretty cool and the organizers of the event must be feeling justifiably proud. My thanks and congratulations to Kathy Blasi, Sibby Falk, MJ and Herm Auch, Vivian Vande Valde (who started the whole thing fifteen years ago), Marsha Hayles . . . well, the list goes on and on. Volunteers alone totaled 103 people and everyone knew his or her job and did it beautifully.