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West Virginia Librarians Attend National Book Festival

By Suzy McGinley, Youth Services Consultant

Change was the order of the day for the 14th Annual National Book Festival held in Washington, DC. This was the first year the big event was held indoors at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Formally the Book Festival was held outdoors on the National Mall. Previously scheduled for the last Saturday in September, the change of venue meant a change of date and the Festival was held on the Labor Day weekend, Saturday, August 30.

State Table of Books at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, DC One thing that did not change was the popular Pavilion of the States where all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the U. S. Territories feature a book about their area or by a local author. This year, West Virginia was represented by The King of Little Things, the first picture book written by nationally known WV storyteller Bil Lepp. 

This charming book was illustrated by David T. Wenzel and published by Peachtree Publications. Some of the “little things” illustrated in the book were marbles, so the West Virginia table had small bags of Marble King Marbles, made in Paden City, to give away to children attending. The marbles were very popular and the 1,000 plus bags were gone quickly. 

The West Virginia table also featured bookmarks from WV authors and the Department of Tourism. Many people commented on how beautiful the DOT bookmarks were and teachers asked for several to share with their students. A perennial favorite are the WV State road maps. All the bookmarks and road maps were gone by the end of the day as children and adults stopped by the table to get their Pavilion of the States map stamped with a symbol of each state. The map also lists all the great books that are featured each year. Copies of the books were available for sale in the market tent and all the King of Little Things were sold.

Susan Hayden and Suzy McGinley of the West Virginia Center for the Book have been working at the National Book Festival for years and were both rather skeptical about the changes of date and location. They were pleasantly surprised at the large attendance and the pleasant surroundings of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. “Everyone had a wonderful time” Hayden stated. “We look forward to coming back to the Convention Center next year.”

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