My friend Isabelle and I spent all of last Saturday at the LA Times Festival of Books at USC. This was my second time attending the festival; last year, I went specifically to meet my editor. This year, I went without an agenda. It was a rare rainy day, and Isabelle and I went from booth to booth (Kinokuniya, Vroman’s, Mysterious Galaxy, Once Upon A Time, Pages, Skylight Books, etc.) looking at and talking about books. Some highlights included:
- At the Book Soup booth, they were running a mock presidential election with authors as the candidates. If you voted, you were entered into a raffle to win gift certificates to the store. I voted for Toni Morrison; Isabelle voted for Haruki Murakami.
- At the Penguin Young Readers booth, I noticed K. G. Campbell was signing copies of his new picture book, Dylan the Villain, and I introduced myself because we have the same editor.
- We spotted Jon Klassen signing copies of Pax, a middle grade book by Sara Pennypacker that he did the cover art and illustrations for. I just read it, and it has the most beautiful fox on the cover. We hovered for a bit but didn’t talk to him.
- I bought a copy of Chef Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook for my brother and had it signed at the cooking stage. Katie Chin is a family friend (I went to school with her niece) and the daughter of Leann Chin, which will mean something to you if you’re from Minnesota.
- We saw a laser-cut violin! I would’ve asked to play it, but it wasn’t quite all glued together yet.
- We stopped by a few of the panels on the YA Stage. At YA Fiction: The Light Fantastic, an audience member asked a question about appropriation. How do you write about the Other without appropriating? The panelists were also asked to name a book they wished they had written, and Elissa Sussman said Seraphina by Rachel Hartman!