I Convinced My Parents To Take Me To The National Book Festival

I don’t know about you, but I convinced my parents to take me and my sister to the National Book Festival on Sunday (September 26th). THANKS MOM AND DAD!!  The festival was on the 25th and 26th this year in Washington DC on the National Mall right between the Capital Building and the Washington Monument. There was a ton of things to do for kids and adults. For adults, there were lectures and book signings from authors, poetry readings and lectures about the Library of Congress. Because I’m a kid I’ll let you know about the things there were to do for children. We spent the entire day at the festival (OK we did sneak in a trip to the Air and Space Smithsonian…it’s too cool to miss).

Story time with Miss International Ciji Dodds

Mr. Chris Draft gets us kids ready to move!

First, it was just great to be there! I saw all sorts of people from all over the world, gathered together for one thing…BOOKS! Isn’t it cool how people can come together to enjoy the same thing? The festival didn’t open until 1pm on Sunday but there was a pre-event called “Let’s Read, Let’s Move!” hosted by former NFL player Chris Draft. Mr. Draft started the Chris Draft Family Foundation in 2006 because he wanted to promote the idea that families should have healthier life styles. Mr. Draft just published his first children’s book in 2010 titled “Do You Want To Play Catch?” Mr. Draft seemed like the perfect person to host this event! First there was a story time where all the kids gathered around and had a story read to them by a representative from the festival and by Miss International, Ciji Dodds. After we kids heard a good story, Mr. Draft got us up and MOVING (I actually broke a sweat). He had us run shuttles, sprints and other relay type races. The work out made me ready to go take on the rest of the festival! One thing I did like that Mr. Draft said was that the NFL players spend more time in the classroom reading and studying then actually playing. He said it is important that we kids balance both things.

Our next stop was The Magic School Bus! It was cool that they actually had a bus you could walk through. Inside the bus there was a bunch of educational displays on things like volcanos, bugs, the human body and planets. When you came out of the bus all the kids got a Magic School Bus book and guess who was there to sign them?!? Ms. Frizzle! OK, I know it was a lady dressed up to look like Ms. Fizzle, but it was still fun and my little sister thought it was REALLY Ms. Frizzle. Ms. Frizzle had on one of her strange dresses. This one had planets all over them.

We headed over to the PBS kids tent where you could see Clifford, Sid the Science Kid, Martha from Martha Speaks, a Honker from Sesame Street and Princess Presto from Super Why. I had my picture taken with the Honker, my sister chose Princess Presto. Inside the tent was all sorts of games and activities having to do with reading, words and letters and science.

The “Lets Read America”  pavilion had a lot to do in it for kids. First we saw a giant penguin from Penguin Publishing and of course we had to get a picture with it 🙂 Wells Fargo had a nice story time area with cushions for kids to sit around a model of a stagecoach while the story tellers read. We stayed to hear 2 stories here. The first was a coloring book story about a dog named Jack. Jack was a guard dog for gold shipments that traveled from the mining camps to the Wells Fargo banks. The second story was titled “Stagecoach Sal” by Deborah Hopkinson. The story is based on a real-life person, the only woman to ever carry the US mail on a stagecoach. The man that was telling the story was dressed up like a person from that time period. The book had sing-along parts to it. The man telling the story was an AWESOME story-teller and singer (my Dad said he really enjoyed the story too). All the kids in the audience got a copy of the “Jack” coloring book AND the “Stagecoach Sal” book! There were arts and crafts in the tent and people from the RIF reading program. We got a kit to make up your own story book. What was really cool was that we saw THE Librarian of Congress, Dr. James Hadley Billington. How cool was it that he was walking around with the rest of us? Dr. Billington is the 13th Librarian at the Library of Congress since it opened in 1800. He has been THE Librarian since 1987. That’s him in the red tie in the picture 😮

There were other tents that had a family storytelling and music. One area had a reading nook with bean bag chairs rockers and other comfortable places to sit and read. There were all sorts of book available in the area so you could take a rest and read a bit. We headed over to the Library of Congress tent and I talked to one of the librarians there. She told me that the Book Festival has been going on since 2000 so this is the 11th year for it. She was nice and showed me the Library of Congress website and told me I could look up how many people came to the festival on the site when they posted the information. I also talked to another librarian and she said she’s been volunteering at the event for the past 5 years and she really likes doing it. Here’s a fact for you! I’m kind of my class librarian. It is my job to make sure the books are neat and put away in my classroom at school 🙂

There was also a HUGE tent where you could buy books. There was every book you could imagine there (and it was very crowded so we didn’t spend much time in it).

Author Eric Wight (Frankie Pickle books)

My last stop was to get my Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace (my favorite Frankie Pickle book) book signed by Eric Wight. Mr. Wight was SUPER nice and kind and it seemed like he had a good sense of humor! He drew a couple pictures in the book where he signed it. He also signed my National Book Festival poster and drew a Frankie Pickle on it.  I wanted to stay and get my poster signed by Michael Buckley (N.E.R.D.S. author), but **sob** he wasn’t going to start signing books for another hour and a half and we had a LONG drive home. Well, at least I had a lot of time in the car to write this.

So to summarize, WE HAD A GREAT DAY and I hope my parents bring me next year!



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10 replies

  1. Sounds like a super event! So glad you got to go, Erik. It’s now on my to-do list for the future, too! Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

  2. Wow! That is so cool! I wish I lived closer than 12 hours away. I would have loved it! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. Sounds like you had great time! Congrats to you and your parents!

  4. We all had a great time. To Mr Draft the energy you brought with a great message was really awesome. It’s great to see famous people influence kids and adults in a positive way. I am looking forward to reading your book this weekend. To the story tellers and staff , THANK YOU . You all deserve a big round of applause.
    Erik’s Dad

  5. Erik,

    I am so glad you had a great time. The passion you have for reading and sharing your feedback with others through your website and blog is truly amazing. I’m not much of a reader myself and have a hard time getting Travis to read his 15 minutes a night (maybe you can help me work on that with him) but I just want to let you know that I am just blown away with what you are doing here and your work ethic and creativity with this site. It really seems like you are having a blast sharing your views and learning a lot along the way. Keep up the good work, you are truly a remarkable young man!

    • Thanks a lot, Mr. Harwick! Travis is an outstanding musician! I wish I had some of his talent…. Maybe Travis would like Comic Books or book/video books, like 3:15. The Reading Specialist at our school said ‘It doesn’t matter what kids read, just as long as they read.’ Do you think Travis would like to do a guest book review on any book he wants? I am trying to get other kids to write reviews too and get more kids into reading!
      Thanks again,
      Erik 😉

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