September 29, 2009

Books are still cool! 130,000 attend National Book Festival in D.C.

Original photos by Caroline Treadway!

Booklovers young and old spilled onto the National Mall for the Ninth Annual Book Festival in Washington, D.C., this year. When the dusty, muggy morning morphed into a rainy afternoon, the umbrellas came out and the attendees huddled in tents mingling with their favorite authors and listening to them read.

I mean, Judy Blume, Jon Grisham and Ken Burns—how cool!

For me, the coolest thing at the Book Festival was listening to award-winning documentarian Ken Burns (think Baseball, Civil War, National Parks…) read The Little Engine That Could to a tent full of children and parents. And he wasn’t just reading, he was into it. I could tell that book meant something to him, shaped him somehow, like it did me.

My roommate, Daisy, from Taiwan, who was covering the event for a New England newspaper said, “What is this book?” And I realized that books like The Little Engine That Could, embedded with American morals, have quietly sculpted my values from the very beginning. Those books have also sculpted the minds of those in my community, their motivations, attitudes and work ethics. I know, duh, but it was a little epiphany for me.

Some of the other authors I shot were:

Steven Kellogg, of Norwalk, Connecticut, who has illustrated nearly 90 books. This photo made it to the front page of the Sunday Norwalk Hour!

John Irving, who wrote The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp and A Prayer for Owen Meany, among others.

George Pelecanos, who has authored 15 crime novels and thrillers and has written for The Wire.

Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, who have recently collaborated on the popular Spiderwick Chronicles.

Jeff Kinney, a cartoonist who created the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, the last of which is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw.

And Mary Brigid Barrett, who wrote Sing to the Stars, The Man of the House at Huffington Row among others. She is also the president and executive director of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

And below is my favorite moment: I caught a grandmother, Cindy Lucas, of Virginia, reading to her granddaughter, Monica, on a relatively quiet bench amid the hubub.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Chinnery Sep 22, 2010 4:36pm

merely have got to state you establish a lot of good points and definitely will post a number of ideas to add on just after a day or two.

Ross Sep 30, 2009 1:49am

There is a new children's author on the market. Ashley Howland's first novel is Ghostnapped!
Get ready for a ghastly, ghost-hunting mystery that will chill the very marrow in your bones! Ashley Howland makes her debut with a sensational spectral adventure that will ‘fright and delight’ kids and teens everywhere.
I can be purchased at:

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Caroline Treadway

Caroline Treadway is a professional freelance photographer and writer who shoots editorial and commercial work, including photojournalism, sports, portraits and weddings. She received her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University in 2010. Caroline’s passion for journalism is evident in the variety of stories she covers and the depth of her reporting, documenting the unique and powerful moments of life. Recently, Caroline has been documenting the life of Navajo geo-botanist Arnold Clifford and threats to rare plant species in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and Arizona. As a journalist, Caroline seeks to overcome the traditional boundaries between photographer and reporter. This multi-platform approach gives her the flexibility to create visual stories for a rapidly changing media world.