On Saturday, May 19 I took my family to the Gaithersburg Book Festival.  It felt small and intimate, but still offered a full day of readings by some really great authors, book sales by Politics & Prose and many booths with information on publishing, writing programs (including a booth from my school, Johns Hopkins Masters in Writing Program), and individual authors promoting their books.  Of course, there was food, and I discovered a  delicious chocolate company.  I’m so taking my kids there for a tour once school is out for summer.

The festival hosted a kids’ village, with arts and crafts, author booths, and a playground.  One thing I learned in the kids’ village: if you are an author promoting a children’s book, it helps to have something at your booth that stands out and pulls children (and their parents/potential buyers) to you.  The author of a children’s book on presidential horses brought Oreo, the very horse that starred in her book.  Our children made a beeline to her stand so they could brush the horse’s mane, and I talked to the author about her book and signed up to receive a free coloring book.

I was able to attend a great reading/discussion by Sarah Pekkanen and Jennifer Lancaster, two very popular authors.  The moderator, Eleanor Brown, asked an interesting question: What have you recently read that would surprise your readers?  Sarah Pekkanen’s answer – The Trial by Kafka – stood out to me because it is on my list of books to read.

The experience confirmed what I already knew about myself: I love books, and I love festivals that celebrate books and the writers who create them, and I hope to some day read from my published novel to a tent full of people who’ve been moved by what I’ve written.


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