A Monster of an Event

The seventh annual Decatur Book Festival took place in more than 17 venues in that historic Georgia city this past weekend. The celebration attracted some 75,000 literature lovers, many of them youngsters like the ones seen here with Bookzilla, the festival mascot. Among the events for children and teens were the Center for Puppetry Arts’ circus-inspired production of The Tortoise, the Hare and Other Aesop’s Fables; a teen poetry slam; and appearances by 21 authors, including Patrick McDonnell, Peter Brown, Maureen Johnson, Kami Garcia,and Margaret Stohl.

Sack It to Me

While in town for the Decatur Book Festival, Jarrett J. Krosoczka stopped by Rock Spring Elementary School. Here, second graders who began their school year reading Krosoczka’s Baghead (Knopf, 2002) model the headgear they made in homage. Also in honor of the author-illustrator’s visit, librarian Kathy Schmidt presented the entire cafeteria staff with yellow aprons, a la his Lunch Lady character. Krosoczka presented book seven in the series, Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes (Knopf, March), at the festival; book eight, Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril, comes out on September 11.

Underpants and Origami: Together at Last

Dav Pilkey also made an appearance at the Decatur event, signing his latest, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (Scholastic, Aug.). The briefs-sporting superhero himself was spotted roaming the festival, though here, Pilkey is joined by Origami Yoda creator Tom Angleberger. The crafty author took the children’s stage on Sunday for a reading of The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (Abrams/Amulet, Aug.).

Fair Play

The 12-day Minnesota State Fair, which concluded over Labor Day weekend, once again offered its literary themed Alphabet Forest. Alphabet Forest founder and coordinator Debra Frasier (The Fabulous Fair Alphabet, S&S/Beach Lane, 2010), shown here with Stephan Shaskan (A Dog Is a Dog, Chronicle, 2011), launched the activity center in 2010; this year it featured an outdoor reading room. Also new this year, a different Minnesota children’s book author presided over the activity table each day, helping children spin the alphabet wheel and win words, make word banners, snap word photos, and engage in other vocabulary and literacy-related activities.

Siren Call

On Saturday, Florida indie shop Bookstore1Sarasota hosted a launch party for local author Dianne Ochiltree, seen here signing for a fan. Ochiltree’s Molly, by Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter (Calkins Creek, Sept.), illustrated by Kathleen Kemly, introduces young readers to the early 19th-century African-American woman who went from cooking for New York City firefighters to battling blazes alongside them. At the event, hydrant-shaped cookies were served, firefighters gave safety demos, and fire captain Susan Peterson – the first female firefighter in the Sarasota area – arrived by firetruck.