PHOTOS! National Book Fest + DC and Philly visits!

I'm at home today recovering from an astounding weekend in Washington, DC, for the Library of Congress National Book Festival! I got to hang out with some of my fellow Scholastic authors...including Sonia Manzano, also known as Maria from Sesame Street!! Talk about a lifelong role model. Sonia is warm and funny, and so genuine. I was extremely honored to meet her, and may have done a little bit of fangirling, too.

Scholastic authors James Dashner, Maggie Stiefvater and I in front of the Washington Post offices, where we all attended an author breakfast.

The Festival's opening reception was held at the Library of Congress. That building is jaw-dropping. I spent a fun hour running around looking at Thomas Jefferson's library, the Reading Room, and a gallery of 100 Books That Shaped America. A really fun evening.

Here are some photos from the festival itself! A crowd of 200,000 gathers on the lawn of the National Mall each September for this event. It's well organized, friendly, and free. I absolutely loved it.

My presentation! Each speaker got their own sign language interpreter, which I loved. I made an improv comic based on an audience member's crazy story! It was a blast!

A sea of faces.

Another view of the sea.

The audience rushes to the front of the stage to take the mic during Q&A...

Superfan Emily and I! It was Emily's story I drew during my improv comic presentation.

Superfan Molly and I!

Jarrett Krosoczka and I! I've known Jarrett since...well, we met on MySpace, if that tells you anything. He's such a rad guy and a fabulous author/cartoonist/illustrator!

My signing line awaits...

...and rushes forward!

To summarize: Go to the National Book Festival if you get a chance. I certainly hope to go back in the future! I also had a wonderful time visiting the DC area in general--I went to the National Portrait Gallery, ate at some great restaurants, and met some really really nice people.

I visited some awesome bookstores in the area, too!

Barston's Child's Play in Chevy Chase...

Big Planet Comics in Vienna, VA...

Big Planet Comics in College Park, MD...

...and Children's Book World in Haverford, PA! Here, CBW sets up the window display for my visit...

The readers gather...

My delightful, smiling crowd at CBW!

Thank you so much to the booksellers, readers, festival hosts and organizers, and of course, Scholastic for helping make this whole thing happen!

Later this week I head to the midwestern states! I'm visiting Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis before heading to the west coast for the next leg of the tour. Looking forward to it!

Raina Telgemeier