I went to the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus this past Saturday, an event celebrating Ohio’s authors, along with my husband, Amber(10), my brother and sister-in-law. It was really fun day, at least I enjoyed it a lot. I know Amber did too. As for the rest of the bunch, I think they had an okay time, but were basically there because I wanted to go.

There were tons of authors chatting and signing their books. I think we all came away with something. Amber bought The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. This is a picture of the two of them. She was really nice to Amber, interested in talking to her and encouraged Amber to send her an e-mail after she reads the story to tell her if she enjoys it.

We actually picked up a bunch of books.  In addition to that one, Amber also got Pencil, Paper, Draw!: Dogs (signed) by Steve Harpster, who told her that the dog on the cover is actually his. David’s purchase was St. Barts Breakdown by Don Bruns, who was interesting to talk to. He emphasized how important the setting is to his stories, how he hopes it feels like taking a trip to the islands. I picked up Back in Black by Lori Foster and had David take my picture with her. We also won a couple of books, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

My favorite part of the day, though, was the panel discussions and presentations. During “The Power of Words” Andrew Hudgins and Angela Johnson discussed how words can inspire, teach and entertain. They both read a couple of their own poems too. I just love hearing poetry read aloud.

We caught the last half of a presentation by author and illustrator David Catrow, who talked about encouraging children to draw without criticizing what they do and that sometimes he has pictures in his head that he just needs to get out. It kind of reminded me of Amber at times. He showed how he can take a random squiggle and make it into a full-fledged picture. We were able to bring home one of his sketches, but my photo of it’s a little dark. It’s poster size and adorable.

We ended our day by going to the panel featuring Lori Foster and Dan Chaon discussing “The Writing Life.” It was amazing to see how these two successful writers approach writing and publishing in entirely different ways. I’m sure part of it is due to the genres they write in and part is due to their personality differences. It was the highlight of the day for me and, I think, for my brother. Amber and David read through it but didn’t complain, so I figure whatever makes them happy.

It was a wonderful day. My brother took some more pictures, but hasn’t e-mailed them to me yet, so I may have some more to post later this week.