Monday, May 21, 2012
Festival of Trees
Last week, Kate and I attended the Festival of Trees at Harbourfront for the third year in a row. This event, run by the Ontario Library Association, is a huge celebration of reading. All the authors nominated for the Forest of Reading awards are invited to the award ceremonies and they also hold workshops and willingly sign books throughout the day.
Since Kate was reading from the Red Maple list this year, we attended on the first of the two days, when that awards ceremony was being held. As always, there was a real party atmosphere, with a live band playing and thousands of enthusiastic readers. At the ceremony itself, kids showed their appreciation in a very vocal way as each author was introduced by student volunteers. Here, authors are treated like rock stars, as they should be! The photo above shows the stage during the Red Maple awards with Kenneth Oppel, the winner with his book Half-Brother, addressing the audience.
Todd also had to go into Toronto that day so we decided to forego the usual bag lunch and join him at Watermark Irish Pub at nearby Queen's Quay Terminal. We made sure we got back in time to attend a joint talk given by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten to promote their new book The Taming, published by Random House. We both enjoyed the presentation, which was very well received by the audience, and decided to pick up a copy of the new book. Eric and Teresa were gracious enough to let me take their photograph after they signed Kate's book. Kate couldn't wait and started reading The Taming in the car as we drove home and finished it the next day. She plans to post a review (after all her end-of-year assignments are done) and liked the book so much that she proposed to our parent-child book club that it be one of our future selections.
Walking past the tents, we noticed a long line in front of Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome, which went on to win the White Pine non-fiction award. Kate told me that her teacher had read excerpts from the book to her class and so we at once knew the perfect book to bring back to her classroom. We picked up a copy at the book tent and asked Neil to sign it, which he did in a way that could only be described as "awesome"!
We also managed to find Kelley Armstrong and asked her to sign our copy of The Gathering, which was the winner of the White Pine fiction award. Regular readers of this blog will know that we are both fans of her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series. Kate would have loved to attend her workshop but unfortunately, it was scheduled at the same time as the Red Maple awards.
All in all, it was a terrific day, and the weather could not have been any better. We congratulate the Ontario Library Assocation for hosting another exciting and well-organized Festival of Trees event!