The National Book Festival – Experiencing the Author Pavillions

The best thing about the National Book Festival is the opportunity to see and hear authors whose books we all cherish. We weren’t able to enjoy as many authors as I had hoped but next year I’ll plan differently to maximize the number of author I get to see.

The first author we listened to was Walter Isaacson in the History/Biography tent. Mr. Isaacson has written many books about great men who have accomplished great things. His speech at the Festival centered around three great men including Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and of course, his most recent subject, Steve Jobs.

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He told us how these three very different men had some things in common including their love for beauty, simplicity and curiosity and their ability to, as Steve Jobs would put it, “think different”. He told of Franklin’s salient traits of tolerance and common ground. He spoke of Jobs’ determination to make the best product he could make. He explained how they followed their passion and were a part of something larger than themselves.

He was impassioned by his subjects. He was humorous at times, telling some of the stories of his days following around Jobs. He had a good message for the youth of today, or all of us for that matter, that following your passion, being a part of something you truly believe in, can be your greatest gift.

After each author finishes speaking there is a Q & A session where they take a few questions from individuals. The questions asked centered around Steve Jobs. Mr. Isaacson was professional with his answers.

This was a great author to start off our day!

Since my son came with me, we devoted much of our time to authors he enjoyed in his elementary years. We listened in as R. L. Stine entertained little ones at the Family Storytelling Stage. He told them a story encouraging their participation along the way. Mr. Stine has a new Goosebumps series, Goosebumps Most Wanted, coming out. You can read my review of the first book in the series here.

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Our next stop was the Teens & Children tent to see Lois Lowry. When we got there Walter Dean Myers was finishing up his speech and starting the Q & A session. I wasn’t familiar with this author but you could tell he was popular by the sheer number of people crowded into the tent. From the questions that were asked we could tell this author has inspired many youth.

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We thought the crowd was huge for Walter Dean Myers. That crowd swelled for Lois Lowry who is obviously beloved by many. Her new book, a part of The Giver series is due out soon and was actually for sale at the Festival. I found it interesting that she wrote The Giver, which has been put in the sci-fi or dystopian genre, but doesn’t consider herself a reader of that genre.

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The last author we caught for the day was Donna Britt. I was not familiar with her but could quickly see that she is a strong female voice. She told the heartbreaking story of her brother’s death and the impact it had on her. The background behind her actually fell over and almost hit her during the first part of her speech. She was very graceful and didn’t let that incident deter her from delivering her message.

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It was wonderful to see all these great authors converge in one place!

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