Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cape Celebrates Literacy

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the first-annual Cape Elizabeth Author Festival, prompted by this invitation from writer and Pond Cove Elementary School librarian, Cameron Rosenblum:
"As part of a week-long, community-wide celebration of literacy, funded by the school department and the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation, we have twenty some-odd authors for all ages confirmed so far for a living book fair. Our wonderful local independent book store, Nonesuch Books, will be handling sales and will preorder your book/s to have on hand. Authors can greet readers, sign books, and choose to do readings in a smaller setting near the fair. We invite authors to a simple dinner afterward, where they can relax and mingle with other writers and illustrators and members of the Cape community.
Cameron and her amazing team (including Superintendent Meredith Nadeau with her sleeves rolled up, eager to do anything that needed doing) welcomed us with goodie bags, balloons, and a great showing of the community.

I shared a table with illustrator and writer Stephen Costanza, who created the gorgeous picture book Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra, among others. Next to us was writer (and former Concord, NH bookstore owner) Marilyn Taylor McDowell, whose first book, Carolina Harmony, was a Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth Pick.

One of my favorite parts of the day was when a boy named Jasper came over to my table, picked up my graphic novel picture book, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong: The Robin Hood of Korea, and asked, "Can I take this and read it?"

Carl Cowan, husband of writer Mary Morton Cowan, found Jasper curled up on a couch in the back of the room and shot this gorgeous photo. What a treat for an author-illustrator to watch a child fall into a book they've created.


And it was delightful to "relax and mingle" with a few of the "twenty some-odd" - and odd we are, in all our delightful ways - writers and illustrators from the region.

We look forward to many more years of "Cape Celebrates Literacy!"