The festival had dozens of authors, some local, some YA, some adult, some award winners, etc. They were arranged in panels for the most part with three keynoters starting with Jonathan Maberry. I watched kids come into sessions clutching books (authors signed books at the end of each session). They took notes and asked questions. I tweeted out as best I could (#mctbf13) as well despite someone who chastised me for doing so because it was "distracting." I can only assume this person thought I was messaging someone and not tweeting and posting to Facebook. (Sigh!)
A bit of background might help here: many of these kids come from circumstances where there is not money for books or snacks or transportation. So, the districts rig bus loads of kids, admission is free. More than that, though, the librarians give kids "coupons" for free books and for lunch. Every kid gets a couple of books, some autographs, and pizza. Local vendors help provide things as well. It is a community celebration of books and reading. As I sat in sessions and watched kids all I could think was how this was one of the most valuable strategies, activities, lessons, whatever. Kids learned so much about reading and writing over the course of a day. And since the event was held at a local college (thanks Lone Star for hosting), it also gave kids a chance to see a campus other than their own.
Congratulations and a heap of thanks to the teachers and librarians who took Saturday to bring kids to authors and books. And HUGE kudos to the organizers, also school librarians. In addition to the work they do during the week, they spent weekends and evenings getting all the ducks in a row. Muchas gracias to the authors who came as well.
I know I am still on a high from YALSA and ALA Midwinter. And there are now hundreds of kids who have the same sort of wonderfully warm memories of their day.