This weekend was a whirlwind of books and authors and festivals. On Friday, Cyn and I drove up to Huntsville for the Sam Houston State University Children's Book Festival. We had dinner in The Woodlands (where we also stayed) at Macaroni Grill with the conference organizers, workshop leaders, and the other keynoters, Joan Bauer and Mo Willems.
We were up at 6:30 the next morning for breakfast and the drive to Huntsville (where they have a 70 foot tall statue of Sam Houston). After a quick set up, Cyn gave her morning keynote speech on gothic fantasy and Tantalize. Joan Bauer followed with a moving discussion of Story and her trip to Kazakhstan.
We then retired for lunch and book sales and signing, while the workshops were going on. After lunch were more workshops and then I delivered my keynote, followed by Mo's speech, which included a discussion on the entirety of the picture book as a work of art (He also showed how to draw Pigeon).
After more book sales and signings, we packed Mo into the car and high-tailed it back to Austin for the Texas Book Festival. After only one wrong turn, Cyn arrived in the nick of time for the "Not for Required Reading" panel at Alamo Drafthouse. Other panelists included Austinites April Lurie and Brian Yansky; and Sherman Alexie, Adrienne Kress, Perry Moore, Neal Shusterman, and Jacques Couvillon.
The theatre was sold out and the crowd was enthusiastic. Attendees included authors Linda Sue Park, Mark Mitchell, Frances Hill, Kimberly Willis Holt, and Gail Carson Levine. Several of us (Linda Sue Park, Neal Shusterman, Varian Johnson, Lindsey Lane, Brian Yansky, April Lurie) then went for a late night dinner at Magnolia Cafe.
The next day, Cyn was on a panel titled Tough Girls, with April Lurie and Adrienne Kress
and moderated by Julie Lake. The conference room was overflowing and the crowd was treated to insights into the authors' creative processes and behind-the-scenes looks at their books.
By this time we were completely exhausted, but later in the evening, we briefly stopped by a party hosted by Cyndi Hughes at Nuevo Leon.
Many thanks to everyone involved in organizing both festivals! We had a terrific time and your work is greatly appreciated.