Sometimes Often, I give my local independent bookstore a hard time. I don’t mean to. Well, actually, I do mean to. I tweet at them, or send them slightly passive aggressive emails. Always, the topic is the same: I want middle grade authors in Bellingham, and I want them more often.
It’s not that Village Books hasn’t brought some great middle grade authors here, over the years. I saw Louis Sachar at the Mount Baker Theatre! Eoin Colfer came all the way from Ireland or wherever he lives! But those were several years ago, and things seem…different now.
Middle grade authors are a once or twice a year event at Village Books. Which is so hard for me. I see all these authors head to Kidsbooks, in Vancouver, or Secret Garden Books (and other locations), in Seattle, and I want my students to have those opportunities. We’re right in between! Can’t we get those authors to spend a night in Bellingham?
Meeting an author is such a special thing. I just want every kid to have that chance. I don’t mean to be whiny.
So, I have to say thank you to Village Books for hosting two middle grade authors in less than seven days. I certainly felt spoiled.
In town for the WWU Children’s Literature Conference (I’ll write about this soon!), Katherine Applegate, along with her husband, YA author Michael Grant, made Village Books their first post-Newbery public event. Yow! I was so glad this happened. Often, the authors that come for WWUCLC visit a school or two, present at the conference, and then go home. No events open to the general public! Such a shame. I understand that events cost money and that we have to honor authors’ time. But I can’t stand it when I know authors are in our town, but my students won’t have a chance to meet them!
Two of my students made the school-night trek from the county to meet Katherine and get her autograph. Such a gift. She signed the books “To the One and Only _____.” Nice.
Plus, after I introduced myself, she recognized me from Twitter. :^)
Then, just a few days later, Kirby Larson stopped by as part of her NW book tour for her great new book, Hattie Ever After. I just missed meeting Kirby at ALA Midwinter. We just didn’t bump into each other. I’ve been wanting to meet her ever since she interviewed me on her blog (an honor!). Plus, all of her books are wonderful.
I finally met Kirby at the WWUCLC. I sat next to her! Another honor! She is a former presenter at the conference, but was just a fellow attendee this year. I felt so lucky to be able to see her again at Village Books. Twice in four days! She is super nice.
Kirby brought delicious bookies…er, cookies.
I didn’t win the hat contest, but it was fun to break out the fedora!
I truly, desperately hope that the middle graders of Whatcom County don’t have to wait a year to see more middle grade authors in our town. I am so thankful to Village Books for hosting two amazing authors. But I’m greedy! Please bring more! I will promote local author events to the very end! Bring me authors and I will bring you kids! And parents with checkbooks!
Thank you Katherine, Kirby, and Village Books! I love supporting my local independent bookstore.
I’ll see you in Fairhaven, hopefully soon!