A books day

Morristown held its first-ever book festival over the weekend and it was a lovely time. First off, good location: It’s a nice walkable downtown, lots of shops and restaurants, easy to get from one venue to another, with a central grassy area perfect for signing tents and book sales. Second, good organization: The volunteers were well trained and unfailingly helpful, whether directing you to a venue or pre-writing your name on a stickie so the author didn’t misspell it in the book. Pretty impressive for the first year; I’ll be sure to return for the second.

The authors/speakers represented an interesting mix of genres, from women’s fiction to non-fiction. Only a couple of children’s authors, and unfortunately I missed the talk/signing from the first one, Jane O’Connor of “Fancy Nancy” fame, because I was (ironically) meeting with my critique group, getting feedback on one of my picture book manuscripts. Ah well. I did make it to the second talk, from fellow New Jersey native Nancy Krulik, who writes the “George Brown, Class Clown” and “Katie Kazoo” series. She was a hoot. She got the kids playing Mad Libs, then promised them stickers if they would stand up and belch into the microphone.

(I did not belch. But I did take mental notes, because I’m hoping to also do these sorts of talks someday, and I like to see how they’re done.)

My friend had recommended attending Julia Fierro’s talk, and she was right, because Julia is funny and super nice and had a lot to say about the creative process. I started reading her novel “Cutting Teeth” before I even left the festival — it’s good.

I also got a “George Brown” book for my son and, why not, a “Fancy Nancy” book for my daughter, because I knew she’d like it signed or not. I was reading it, sitting in the sun, when I heard a voice compliment me on my reading material. I looked up and there was Jane O’Connor! She nicely signed the book on the spot.

A good day all in all, and I didn’t even attend all the talks. Who knows what could happen next year?