Bookish Babes in Burlington

Another great weekend, thanks to the good folks at the Burlington Book Festival; the amazing Phoenix Books, which cheerfully and tirelessly sold books at the event; and the other writerly ladies with whom I shared a dinner table, a stage, and a VERY large panel: Elizabeth Bluemle, Jo Knowles, Erica Perl, Tanya Lee Stone, Linda UrbanSarah Aronson, Sarah Albee, Jeannine Atkins, Cynthia Lord, Ammi-Joan Paquette, and Kate Messner. Oh, and a BIG thanks to my husband, for driving, and being all-around awesome.

After a rainy drive through most of lower New England on Saturday, we were welcomed by a beautiful afternoon in Vermont. The above photo is the view from our swanky hotel in Stowe, where everyone seemed to walk around in their bathrobes, having just had spa treatments or a dip in the humungous pool. Not one to resist a trend (or a temptation), I indulged in a very, very luxurious pedicure.

Afterwards, we met up with some of our fellow book festival peeps for dinner. Wine was imbibed, locavoracious (is that a word? if not, it should be) burgers and salads were eaten, and lively conversation was shared. What a treat, to be able to spend some downtime with such smart, funny, lovely people. And I finally got to meet Erica Perl, after many years of appreciation from afar!

Did I mention how great our hotel was? Well, the bonus was that it was close to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where my husband and I were able to enjoy a good, nutritious Sunday breakfast of warm apple cider donuts and coffee. Already, my day was off to a good start. And it only got better!

Here I am inspecting the roster for the day (and ignoring the extra space in my last name). What a line-up! I’m so honored I was able to be a part of it. And specifically, I got to present my books alongside writer and bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle! I read from UGLY FISH, she read from the amazing My Father, the Dog, we chatted about what inspired our stories, and then I read from OTTO: The Boy Who Loved Cars. My favorite moment was when I’d just opened UGLY FISH to start reading, and a little tyke in the audience turned to her mom and loudly asked, “Mama, is she DONE yet?” Ha!

Here’s a shot of moi in action (I always have a weird look on my face when I’m photographed reading UGLY FISH, because I’m in the midst of doing all the voices):

Afterwards, I participated in a “super panel” featuring all of the participating children’s authors (except for David Macaulay, who was probably still receiving fans in his very long signing line). We talked about “craft” books we recommend (Bird by Bird, one of my own faves, was a common choice), our journeys to become writers, funny kids’ books we like (currently, I’m loving Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, and not just because it’s published by my alma mater, Candlewick), and if we could think of any male middle grade or YA novelists who write from a female perspective. On the spot, we could only come up with Kevin Henkes (Olive’s Ocean and Junonia). Can you think of others?

Then I signed some books, met some terrific new fans, and it was time to get back on the road for a very, very long drive home. Thankfully, Vermont gifted us with some pretty stellar weather, so we got to enjoy some sublime scenery. All in all, it was a perfect weekend filled with friends and fun and fabulous books. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the fall season.

9 thoughts on “Bookish Babes in Burlington

  1. I haven’t seen you since you got those awesome glasses! (I know you just wrote a long and very interesting blogpost, but I can’t pay attention because I love those specs.) I, too, have new glasses. We’ve got to get together and see each other’s eyewear in person. Besides, I need a copy of Otto signed by you for my own car-crazy boy (you know who he is.)

  2. Glad you had such a great weekend, Kara! Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me after the “super panel.” Next time, you should all wear capes.

    I enjoyed hearing you read OTTO, and I really enjoyed UGLY FISH. It’s hard to resist a picture book with a body count!

    Best,

    Mike

  3. Sounds like a wonderful time!
    I can’t think of many male kidlit authors who take on female POV, but Ben H. Winters’ girl sleuth “Bethesda Fields” is great (The Secret Life of Ms. Finkelman, The Mystery of the Missing Everything.)

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