Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Report from Tucson: Books Are Not Dead!

During one of my sessions at the Tucson Festival of Books last weekend, someone asked the question that seems to come up in pretty much every Q & A session these days, about what's going to happen now that everything is switching over to ebooks.

My answer was something along the lines of, "Right now, we're at a book festival, and there are one hundred thousand people here..." I wasn't trying to go for the easy applause, but everyone clapped at that point (which, I admit, was nice).

But it's true.  Spending the weekend at a book festival attended by over 100,000 people, watching enthusiastic readers walking around with armloads of signed books, definitely made me feel pretty good about making books- especially picture books.

Now I'm back in my studio, working on my next picture book. Maybe some people will end up reading this on a kindle fire, or a nook, or who knows what the next thing will be. But as I work on it, I'm still looking at it as a physical work of art that people will hold in their hands.

Anyway... here are a few pictures from the Tucson Book Festival:

The University of Arizona. Not sure how much work I would have gotten done if I'd gone to college here!

The campus looked a bit different than the east coast schools I'm used to.
The Festival
My first event of the weekend was a book signing, and about 200 feet from where I was signing, there was, literally, A CIRCUS! I assumed nobody would come to my signing, but thankfully, plenty of people did.

The tablecloth at my first signing had 25 years worth of drawings and signatures from all the authors and illustrators who had signed there. Pretty amazing stuff. I particularly loved this one by the brilliant David Wiesner.

me signing

I drew this picture of Ted Williams on the tablecloth.

It's right next to one by pop-up master Robert Sabuda!

It got REALLY crowded!

I was part of a panel called "Bats, Balls, and Gloves: Great Sports Heroes" with my friends Phil Bildner and Kadir Nelson

Then I presented with Kadir Nelson and Doreen Rappaport, on a panel called "She Writes, We Draw: A Story of One Author and Two Illustrators". (For a sneak peek at my next book, look under Kadir's hands.)
reading There Goes Ted Williams at the Story Blanket

me doing a drawing demonstration at the Story Blanket

It was really a wonderful event. I met a bunch of people, and I got to hang out with some author and illustrator friends like Doreen Rappaport, Phil Bildner, Chris Van Dusen, and Kadir Nelson. I also got to meet so many authors and Illustrators I'd never met before, like Jack Gantos, Adam Rex, Mac Barnett, Maxwell Eaton III, Chris Gall, Jon Scieszka... what a fun weekend.

Now, back to work.

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