I went to the Lititz Kid-Lit Festival and ran into Darth Vader

This past Saturday I went to the Lititz Kid-Lit Festival! Aaron’s Books in Lititz really put on a great event. Please visit their site by clicking HERE. When I walked in I saw… Skippyjon Jones!!! 😮 Grammy and Aaron from Aaron’s Books were just about to start to read “Skippyjon Jones: Up and Down” while Skippy acted it out. I REALLY liked when Grammy asked Skippy, “What kind of food do you eat, Skippyjon Jones? Cat food or Dog food?” I’m not sure Skippy knew what to make of that question! Then Grammy read “Skippyjon Jones” to all us kids (and adults, too), Aaron turned the pages of the book and Skippy acted that book out too! 🙂

Then out of the blue (actually it was ‘out of the hallway’), we heard… footsteps… and… breathing? I listened again “SHHHHHHUUHH” (inhale) “HHHHHHHUUUUUUHHHH” (exhale). NO!!! …Could it be?! Then out walked… DARTH VADER, A STORMTROOPER, TWO JAWAS, AND BOBA FETT!!!!!! Luckily I had my lightsaber! My sister and I got photos with the Star Wars characters from Garrison Carida of the 501st Legion (an all volunteer group of Star Wars fans that want to WOW kids and adults alike with their AWESOME costumes -go to their website HERE). I “high-fived” Lord Vader two (TWO!) times!! Boba Fett let me look like I was going to pierce him with my lightsaber while he jumped back with his hands in the air! HOW COOL! Boba Fett A.K.A. Michael Bryant even gave me his trading card. Thanks Mr. Bryant -you are an AWESOME Boba Fett!  The Star Wars characters were there to help promote Tom Angleberger’s newest Origami Yoda book, “Darth Paper Strikes Back” (see my review HERE). I got to see another stooky display of origami with Mr. Angleberger and I got to give him my origami Jedi Angleberger that I had been working on since I last saw him 😮 . Visit Mr. Angleberger’s site HERE.

The Kid-Lit festival had a bunch of workshops to go to. While me and my mom went to some workshops, my Dad and my little sister went to story time at Aaron’s Books (the actual event was held at the Linden Hall School for Girls). The stories were told by professional story tellers and my Dad and sister really enjoyed it.

I first went to a creative writing workshop with Courtney Sheinmel Author of several children’s books including “My So Called Family”, “Sincerely” and “All the Things You Are” (which I got a copy of to read and review -check back!). Ms. Sheinmel made the workshop a lot of fun. She had all of us kids come up with two characters, a setting and part of a plot and then had us all individually come up with the end of the story and asked us to put a “plot twist” in. It was great to hear all the different ideas that all us kids came up with. Ms. Sheinmel taught us that plot twists don’t always have to be a bad thing and that sometimes you need to write an outline of what your story is about but other times its OK to just write the story even if it’s bad at first, just write it and then go back and make it better. Visit Ms. Sheinmel’s website HERE.

I then went to a workshop by Sarah Darer Littman author of the young adult books and middle school Age books including “Life After” and her new book “Want to go Private” (a young adult book about internet safety for teens -not appropriate for my age but my mom picked up a copy). Ms. Littman talked about all the resources you can use when doing research for a book and how good research is necessary to make a book believable. For example in “Life After” she wrote about a girl who was from Argentina but Ms. Littman never went to Argentina and it was too expensive to go there. So she used google maps and images to see what Argentina really looks like and talked to people from there and she even did some Argentinian cooking to really get the idea of what being from Argentina was about. She told us that one of her friends, author Kate Messner, had to research how someone might steal the ORIGINAL Star Spangled Banner from the Smithsonian for her new book “Capture the Flag” (due out in 2012) and the curator of the Smithsonian actually let her (and her kids -lucky) into the Smithsonian for a behind the scenes tour and helped Ms. Messner figure out how her characters could pull the heist off! Ms. Littman said the coolest research she ever did was working with the FBI for her newest book “Want to go Private” (I think that would be cool too)! Visit Ms. Littman’s site HERE.

The last workshop I went to was “Pictures Telling Stories” with MATT PHELAN (author/illustrator of “Around the World” and “Storm in the Barn”) and ERIC WIGHT (author/illustrator of the FRANKIE PICKLE books)!! I couldn’t believe TWO awesome illustrators/authors teaching one class together 🙂 Mr. Wight started the class by drawing a circle ,a square, and a kind of an oval that gets skinny in the middle. He then told us that you can start drawing with really simple shapes like these and make the simple shapes into characters. He then made the circle into a Grand-Pa and he asked us what the other shapes should be. So we made the oval thingy into a giant fire-breathing peanut and the square into a tool-box robot. Then Mr. Phelan asked us to take these characters and make them into a story (seriously I wasn’t really concerned with the robot or giant fire-breathing peanut (let’s call him G.F.B.P.), but I didn’t know where Grand-Pa would fit into our story). So we came up with the G.F.B.P. attacking the city where Grand-Pa lives. Grand-Pa has a toolbox that turns into a robot that can fight the G.F.B.P. (pretty cool). Then Mr. Wight and Mr. Phelan talked about how you go from your idea to writing (or sketching) a rough draft of our comic. We learned about different speech bubbles, panel shapes and sizes and suprisicles. We also learned about how onomonopeia is important to telling about action and thoughts in comics (and I just like to write onomonopeia and my mom is amazed I can spell onomonopeia (hee hee)). We also got to try to make our own characters and comic strips. I think everyone there had a great time and learned a lot! Visit Mr. Phelan’s site by clicking HERE and Mr. Wight’s site by clicking HERE.

I also got to talk to A.S. King (author of the YA novels “Everybody Sees the Ants” and “Please Ignore Vera Deitz”). Ms. King swore to me she was a vulcan that only turns into a human on November 7th every year and she clipped her ears so she can fit in with the rest of us humans (hee hee). Needless to say, she was SUPER nice. Visit A.S. King’s site HERE.

There were other workshops that were at the same time as the ones I went to. I wish I could have gone to them all. I didn’t get a chance to meet or talk to all the authors I would have liked to, but it was getting late and we had to go 🙁

Before I left I caught up with one of the owners of Aaron’s Books (Sam). Sam told me that this is the third year for the festival. The first year twenty people came and this year between 150-200 people attended (and HEY DARTH VADER WAS HERE TOO! He must count for like another 50 or so). Sam hopes to do it again next year.

I really hope they do 🙂


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22 replies

  1. Thank you for the detailed report! I feel as if I were there!

  2. Wow, Erik! This festival sounded AWESOME. Wish I could have been there, too!

  3. Wow Erik – you are brave! Lord Vader gives me chills – I could never high five that dude! Thanks for telling everyone about all that you saw and learned at the Kid Lit Festival!

  4. It’s so cool that your parents take you to so many book-ish events. It sounds like you had a lot of fun and learned some pretty cool stuff too. I wish I could have been there. And, you got to meet Darth Vader! I am pretty jealous of that!

    Your reporting was fabulous too. I love your reviews, but I really like when you describe signings and other events you attend with your family. Your excitement really comes off the page, um, screen. That’s a sign of a good writer. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Erik, for the play-by-play of the festival! You made it come to life with your words!

  6. Wow! It sounds like it was a great event. I wish I could have gone! You’re going to have such a head start on all us grownups who didn’t get to do these cool things when we were kids 🙂 Thanks for your report – at least we get a little taste of what we missed!

  7. Thanks, Erik! What a fun sounding event! You’re a great reporter, and I like how you post the links so we can check out the authors, illustrators, and other participants. Nice job!

  8. Great blog post! I agree with cookiejarprincess and elizabethmozier-I feel like I was there and love your reporting-your passion really does come through-I love it! Way to go!

    • Thank you, thank you, and thank you! 😉 The events are so fun that I can’t wait to tell people about it! 🙂 I liked reading about Sir Books-a-lot’s first literature festival/event, too! Too bad we don’t live closer, or Sir Books and I could go to festivals together! 😉

  9. Great article, Erik! You are well on your way to authorship…I can tell. Keep up the creative pursuits, and reading the best books out there. Don’t forget the classics!

    • Thank you! That means a lot to me! I do have some classics in my ‘Older Books You May Have Forgotten About” catagory, but thinking of it I should make a seperate catagory for Classics! My parents have me read classics and I do like them! Thank you for reminding me to talk about them more 🙂

  10. Too cool, Erik! Thanks for sharing happenings at the festival 😀
    It was awesome to see the photos too!

    Your onomatopoeia for Darth Vader rocks!!!

    • Click, click, clickity- click. That’s my typing onomonopeia 🙂 Admit it, it’s FUN to type onomonopeia!!! AND I saw I spelled it wrong (don’t tell anyone especially my mom hee hee).
      Thanks for commenting! Please come again

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