Bookamania at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago was a study in organized chaos. Hundreds of families waded through the crowds on many floors in many rooms to participate in an astounding number of activities all created around children's books.
I was one of five featured authors and/or illustrators who read and signed books and helped kids with craft projects related to our books. I brought my suitcase of trucks, always a hit. I read my book, and then lined the trucks up behind the big stuck truck, and let the kids play with the trucks for a few minutes. Then the kids helped me pack up my suitcase. My little trucks are taking a beating. I may need to find some replacements.
The craft project for Truck Stuck involved gluing a red truck and two gray strips of paper onto a large green sheet of paper to make a road and viaduct and a stuck truck. There were craypas and pastels to draw more details. This project was fun for a pretty wide age of kids. Some spent only a few minutes, some stayed to draw a long time.
Bookamania took place on November 22 from 11 am to 3 pm, and once it started it never let down until the very end. Mo Willems was the big draw--the line for getting his autograph was always long. Luckily the staff at the HWLibrary really know how to run a great show. They had recruited hundreds of volunteers who assisted with every aspect of the day. I was particularly thankful for the way they manned the crafts tables, guided me to lunch, and kept everything flowing. The Magic Tree Bookstore handled book sales. It's a pretty cute tee shirt they gave me, too, with Mo Willems' latest book characters featured.
Highlight of the day? One girl, on learning that I was the author of Truck Stuck, said to me, "I didn't know authors could be so old!" It's almost enough to make me consider dying my hair.