Hitting the National Book Festival in Washington, DC

National Book Festival 2011 poster

I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for over 8 years and this is my first time attending the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. The festival schedule is jam packed with author talks, book signings, storytellers and much more. This was the first year that the festival lasted two days. In the past it was only on  Saturday, but a half day was added on Sunday. Thank goodness because we wouldn’t have been able to make it otherwise.

Since I attended with my family, the first tent we hit was the PBS Kids tent. Our kids are PBS fans. There were plenty of activities for the kids and parents to do. There were tables with coloring pages, long lines to receive a temporary tattoo of your child’s favorite character and a create-your-own-sentence bean bag toss. The highlight for us was catching Steve Roslenik aka Steve Songs’ last performance for the weekend. Even though we saw him this summer at Wolf Trap’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, my daughter had a blast. I liked that he’s not afraid to try new things at performances. Both times we saw him, he was testing his new songs on the audience. I’m sure we made a great focus group.

National Book Festival

After that, my daughter and I got in many different lines for the obligatory photo ops with various PBS Kids characters. Even my toddler learned how to pose and say, “Cheese.” I think coming on the second day made our wait in line a lot shorter than if we had visited on Saturday. After we spied The Magic School Bus, we had to go check it out. Even Ms. Frizzle was on hand to autograph copies of her book, which Scholastic generously handed out copies of  The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor and The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs.

I recently fell in love with reading my library’s ebooks on Overdrive Media App so I stopped by their tour bus. Since I was already familiar with them, the tour bus wasn’t of much interest to me. However, they had plenty of information about the different ways you can read ebooks from your local library. No ebook reader like the Kindle is necessary. You can download and read ebooks on your computer or your smartphone via their free app, which is available on Android or iPhone. You can even borrow audiobooks and download them not just to your computer but to your mp3 player as well. Visit Overdrive website to learn if your library participates.

We didn’t attend any author readings or talks, but I would have liked hear Garrison Keillor. We arrived late on Sunday so didn’t have as much time to visit all the tents. I think next year, we’ll visit on the first day.  We kept running into fellow From Left to Write book club member and founder of Teen Lit Rocks, Sandie and her family throughout the afternoon. It’s great to run into other book nerds!

National Book Festival 2011 Poster courtesy of Library of Congress. Ms Frizzle photo by Thien-Kim Lam. Affliliate links are included in this post.