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When a 13-year-old girl happily goes to an indoor event on a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon and seeks out (solo) a front-row seat in a crowd with an average age quite a few decades her senior, and then sits contentedly through a program featuring about 10 speakers … well, in my opinion, this is a tribute that speaks volumes.
My co-blogger and daughter (LitKid, as she’s called here) dearly loves Quail Ridge Books and Music, our stellar independent bookstore in Raleigh, NC, and she needed no coaxing when I told her that there was a celebration today of the 30th Anniversary of the store and a big tribute to its founder, Nancy Olson.
Nancy and her husband, Jim, and their dedicated, wonderful staff made Quail Ridge a place that readers and writers of all ages (and musicians and music-lovers, too) were drawn back to again and again.
“LitKid” grew up there, sitting with her nose in a book on the carpet in the back of the children’s section (I always had to drag her away); attending raucous kids’ events with many talented writers and illustrators; and tagging along with me for just as many “grownup” author events, often with her homework in tow.
I asked her over dinner tonight why she loved Quail Ridge. “Because it feels cozy and has a family-like feeling to it,” she said. “Everyone who works there always has smiles on their faces.”
The Olsons decided several years ago that it was time to find someone from the next generation to take over the store. There were many nervous patrons hoping against hope that in the era of Amazon, mega-bookstores and e-books, the Olsons would be able to find someone who would honor that “family-like” feeling that my girl and I and many others love about Quail Ridge.
They gave their fans the gift of being painstaking about the search process, and it paid off. As long-time customers, my girl and I can happily report that they did find a buyer who is honoring the values — and the value — of this place that Nancy and the staff worked hard to create over a span of 25-plus years.
The second-generation owner, Lisa Poole, and the staff (all of our favorite, smiling faces have remained) fittingly chose to focus the 30th anniversary on honoring Nancy Olson.
Unfortunately, Nancy was not there to hear the lineup of writers, friends and book world luminaries who were there to pay tribute to her, including Charles Frazier, Clyde Edgerton, Jill McCorkle, Allen Gurganus, Bridgette Lacy, Angela Davis-Gardner, Randall Keenan, Margaret Maron, Clay Stalnaker and Oren Teicher, Executive Director of the American Booksellers’ Association.
She is recovering from unexpected surgery, and we hope the videos of all of those well-written (of course), humorous, touching tributes will speed her recovery along so we can spot her smiling face at a future event at the store – and so my girl can, as always, give her a big hug.
There were so many cool activities and authors, and the library itself was a spectacle to look at.
There are also tons of really cool authors doing readings there such as John Claude Bemis, R.L. Stine, and Kelly Starlings-Lyon.
There are also cool workshops, like a comic-making workshop, and a book-making workshop.
There were so many fun activities for kids of all ages, like making your own comic, or recreating a scene from your favorite book with Legos (I did Divergent!), and
finding out how literacy fits in with Math.
One of the coolest things I saw on the first day was the StoryUp! Aerialist group, who recreated some of our favorite fables and stories using aerial silks. Paperhand Puppet Intervention was there, too.
There are so many fun things to do at the Literary Festival for everyone in your family. Sadly I didn’t get to do all of things mentioned above because I was out of town part of Saturday, but those were some of the things they offered.
Move over DC (National Book Festival) — you’ve got competition! (and goooooo Wolfpack!)
Bonus: Our friends from our favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge Books & Music were there with a pop-up bookstore!
Oh, look at the time– I gotta get over to NC State for today’s activities! ~LitKid
Postscript from AKid@Heart: Who doesn’t love building with Legos? While LitKid made her cool Divergent scene, I decided to try to create a setting from my kids’ novel manuscript … the rooftop of the main characters’ city apartment building, complete with Tiki shelter (and gliders below), a garden and night-time lights. (Kids have no idea how basic Legos used to be!)
My co-blogger is enjoying her stint as a Scholastic Kids’ Press reporter this year. She was excited when her editor gave her the go-ahead when she “pitched” the idea of interviewing this year’s Newbery Award winner, Katherine Applegate, who was honored for her novel The One and Only Ivan.
Through the wonders of technology, LitKid was able to interview the author at her home on the West Coast from our home on the East Coast on a rainy Sunday afternoon. (At one point, a certain canine friend of Ms. Applegate’s joined the interview, too – sorry, but that cameo didn’t make the final edit!)
We hope you’ll enjoy the interview; Ms. Applegate is the perfect person for a young reporter to do her inaugural “on-camera” interview with – she is kind, warm and funny.
You can take a look at the story and listen to the interview on the Scholastic Kids Press Corps website.
We got exciting news just before Thanksgiving, and today it became”official” ~ my stupendous co-blogger has been selected as a Scholastic News Kids Press reporter for 2012-13!
‘LitKid’ put a lot of time and thought into her application, which included doing an interview and writing an article about her community. She interviewed an amazing local activist and advocate who helped create a organization that supports responsible growth – including policies supporting clean water, quality public education, mass transit, etc. – in our area, which is growing by leaps and bounds.
I’m convinced that the cheerleading and encouraging feedback from her faithful and enthusiastic “Lost in a Book” readers gave LitKid the enthusiasm and confidence that will help her be a great Scholastic Kid Reporter – thanks so much for your support!