Sunday, November 05, 2006



Anna and I had a great time at the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival on October 28th. It was a capacity crowd. There were 450 people who came from twelve different states and from as far away as Missouri and Texas to attend this popular event.

Anna did a fine write-up of the festival last week. Unfortunately, Anna and I never got around to taking pictures. We were too busy talking, eating food, and buying books during the lunch break and during the reception following the announcement of the speakers for the 2007 Festival: Michael Dooling, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, Raymond Bial, Chris Soentpiet, and Richard Peck. (Chris Soentpiet was a speaker at the festival a few years back. He enjoyed the experience so much that he asked David White, the festival director, if he could return.)

Now here’s the scoop on some other stuff:
Dinner with the authors and illustrators at Keene State that Saturday night was a wonderful affair with great company, fine wine, and delicious food—including prime rib, baked stuffed shrimp, baked stuffed portabella mushrooms, and a luscious three-mousse parfait. Anna and I sat at the table with Kevin Hawkes. We enjoyed our conversation with Kevin, Kathy Mallat (another member of the festival advisory board who is also a children’s book author and illustrator), and others.

I love the books Kevin Hawkes illustrates: WESLANDIA; MY LITTLE SISTER ATE ONE HARE; THE MAN WHO MADE TIME TRAVEL; THE LIBRARIAN WHO MEASURED THE EARTH; HANDEL, WHO KNEW WHAT HE LIKED; and so many more. I bought his new book LIBRARY LION, which was written by Michelle Knudsen. How could I resist a picture book with a title like that? It’s a great read.

After we finished eating, the speakers and other dinner guests headed off to David White’s Irish cottage. Yes, his Irish cottage! I kid you not. David loves all things Irish. So…he built an authentic Emerald Isle cottage with whitewashed walls and no running water smack dab in the middle of the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Step over the little wooden bridge and across the threshold of the cottage—and you are definitely in another world. At one end of the one-room cottage, there’s little pub with Guinness on draft. Really! If you don’t believe me, ask Anna. She never lies or exaggerates.

Gathered at the cottage was a convivial crowd of people with a common interest in children’s literature—as well as Guinness on draft and Irish whiskey. There was a wealth of chatter and laughter that rose to the wooden rafters of the cottage. What a pleasurable way for Anna and me to cap off our experience at the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival.

I did not imbibe any alcoholic beverages at the cottage. I had already had two glasses of wine with dinner. And I was the designated driver. Route 101 east of Keene is a winding road—and at night it is very, very dark. I had to be awake and to have my wits about me to ensure us a safe drive back home to Massachusetts.

Anna and I hope more of the Blue Rose Girls will be able to attend the festival in 2007. As a member of the festival advisory board, I encourage anyone who lives in the Northeast to think about attending next year. Put the date on your calendar: October 27, 2007.

NOTE: Each year David White asks a children's illustrator to design a poster for the Keene State College Children's Literature Festival. Here is the 2006 poster created by Olivier Dunrea. Every attendee gets to take home a festival poster.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Elaine, that sounds like a fabulous time. Dinner with Kevin Hawkes! That is so cool.

Thanks for linking to Julie's review of Library Lion on our blog!

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Ooh! I want one of those posters. Love that Dunrea book. Are they for sell anywhere, by chance?

Anonymous said...

um, I meant to say "for sale"...haven't had coffee yet :)

oh, and, yes, thanks for linking to my 'library lion' review....

i lived near D.C. for a very short time and made one of those Kennedy festivals once. they're fun. thanks for the report.