Here Come the Authors

Video from the 2021 Virtual Author Festival

One of the things I like most about retired life is that I can commit to and help with important causes. As a lifelong educator, it’s probably not a surprise that one of those passions is promoting literacy since reading and writing open a world of possibilities in whatever field someone chooses.

A natural fit for me was to join the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee. This fantastic community organization started in 1975 and is still going strong today. I am proud to work with such a wonderful organization. Many who serve on the committee are educators and librarians, but anyone who wants to support literacy can join. The purpose of the group is to promote reading and writing by bringing 25 nationally known children’s authors into our local county schools to talk to kids about their books and the life of a writer.

Each author’s presentation to the children is different, but they often involve authors/illustrators showing how they became interested in writing and drawing. Some authors will show photos of themselves when they were elementary school children and even stories that they wrote decades ago when they were kids. It is fascinating to be a spectator and watch the engaged eyes of children. I describe it as an “aha moment” for the kids as if I’m watching the birth of future writers and illustrators.

Photo Credit to Kindel Media on Pexels

It is no small financial and time commitment to keep this tradition alive. We fly the authors in or pay for their gas to get here if they prefer to drive and put them up at the luxurious hotel Carter House Inn. https://carterhouse.com/ While the authors are in our area, we take them to over 60 schools in the county. The festival ends on a Saturday at the Humboldt County Library with an opportunity for the authors to meet individual children, sell their books, sign autographs, and take photos with the kids.

Events like these happen because of the community’s generosity and our many volunteers’ hard work. There are approximately 30 people in our group, and it takes the efforts of everyone to pull off this biennial event. I am the token male in the group, but there are far worse things in life than working with a bunch of great ladies who are equally committed to literacy. Much of the money raised comes through grants and fundraising efforts. Many local businesses offer their financial support. I’m so proud of my community for seeing the value of the Author Festival.

Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman Declaring October 1st as Proclamation Day in Honoring the Humboldt County Children’s Festival

My first opportunity to volunteer with the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee came three years ago. Our last in-person festival was supposed to be in the fall of 2021, but we decided to hold a virtual event because of Covid. This year it’s all systems go. I serve as the Travel Coordinator and work with a local travel agent to ensure we can work out the logistics of getting all the authors here and back home safely when the festival ends.

This year we have three local children’s authors as part of our lineup. Since my dream is to write novels for the middle grades (I taught grades 2-6 for 31 years), this is an excellent opportunity for me to learn from published children’s authors and illustrators.

The Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival will take place from October 20-22 and include children’s authors/illustrators for picture books, MG (middle grades), and YA (young adults). Those participating this year are the following:

Caroline Arnold                     Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen                 Bob Barner

Larry Brimner                         Erik Brooks                                         Carlene Cogliati

Judy Cox                                 Barry Deutsch                                    Cathryn Falwell

Dan Gemeinhart                    Kelly Milner-Halls                               Valerie Hobbs

Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw      Kirby Larson                                       Susan Hill Long

Martha Longshore (local)      Connie McLennan                   Bethanie Murguia

Alexis O’Neill                          Lisa Papp                                            Rosanne Parry

Carrie Pearson                        Lori R. Snyder                                     Greg Trine

Jasmine Warga

I’m excited to participate again and look forward to writing a future blog post following the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in October. To learn more about us, you can visit our website. https://www.authorfest.org/

88 thoughts on “Here Come the Authors

  1. Great event. Congratulations on being a volunteer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 4:26 pm

      It’s easy to volunteer for good causes as opposed to things where we question how much of the money is going toward its intended purpose.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a great organization and a perfect fit for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 4:27 pm

      It is a great fit. Kind of like a veterinarian joining an organization that helps animals.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Three cheers for literacy promotion! Hip, hip, hooray!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 4:29 pm

      Absolutely! Not every child should go to college, but they should all learn to read. Not only will it help them make it in the world, but it may save their life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can’t conceive of a life without reading. You’re right that it’s a critical life skill. I learned in my last few years before retiring that visual literacy is now following close behind. These standards from the American Library Association were a big eye-opener for me: https://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/visualliteracy/.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 7:27 pm

        Thanks for sharing those standards with me, Liz. It is an eye-opener.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I love everything about this! What an amazing thing to be a part of this for so many reasons. A win for all. Kudos to you and the rest of the team for all of the work and time and money but takes to pull this off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 4:31 pm

      Our community, like others, has its share of problems (drugs, crime, prejudice, homelessness), but this is one thing we’re getting right.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I fondly remember participating in the Author Festival as library staff. We had greats such as Walter Dean Meyers, Clyde Robert Bulla, Ruth Heller, and Sue Alexander, among other amazing authors. Maybe someday we will (see what I did there?) share an author table together, Pete. Is Ronda still part of the crew?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 7:23 pm

      Yes, she’s a dedicated soul! I feel you might know a few others who have been involved for a long time. I used to teach with Sue Alexander’s son at Pine Hill.

      Pam, I don’t know if that will happen, but it would be great. I may be retired, but I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give. My dream is to someday see one of my grandchildren (I don’t have any of those yet.🤣) reading one of my books. If we are blessed, I also look forward to seeing our son reading to his child someday. I’ve got so many great father/son memories of reading with him.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. That is wonderful, Pete. Kudos to you for giving of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 7:24 pm

      What can I tell you? I miss reading to kids. It does my heart good anytime I see a child with a book.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful event to support, Pete. I can see why you wanted to volunteer. It shows your generous heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 8:19 pm

      I am a sucker for a kid with a book. This one was a no-brainer for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. You have some great names on your visitor list. Good for you for doing all that hard work. I’m sure it means a lot to the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 8, 2022 — 10:03 pm

      We’re excited to have them in person again. There are so many magical moments during their visits. The best is when the kids came back into my classroom saying, “I’m going to be an author.”

      Like

  9. What a wonderful opportunity for the children they are so lucky to be able to have this shared experience it also sounds like a perfect opportunity for you, Pete doing what you love x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:09 am

      Trying to make this all come together can be challenging, but the load is much lighter with so many hands involved.

      I’ve been enjoying my new gig reading to seniors at assisted living. I’ll be starting a new book with them today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All this much be so rewarding for both you and the recipients of your time, Pete I’m sure they will enjoy the new book 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You may be retired, but you have never stopped giving of yourself. Your passion for supporting and educating young minds knows no bounds. This is a perfect place for your talents and experience to continue to shape the future of our children, I can tell you from personal experience that I found writing because someone took the time to make reading exciting for me. I expect to see you on the list of authors in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:13 am

      That’s the long-range plan, but I’m focusing on improving as a writer and learning to structure a novel. I love the creative challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a worthwhile event. I am sure your volunteer work is appreciated. Being retired has its perks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:14 am

      Having the freedom to say no and pick and choose is one of those perks. I wake up each new day excited about what I may learn.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is nice to pick and choose what you wish to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a wonderful event, Pete, and would be very exciting to be involved in. A similar event has just finished here and I am very envious of all the writers who volunteered and presented to the students. I look forward to when I am less busy and and am available to volunteer too. I think it might be a biennial event as well, but I’m not sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:17 am

      It would be nice to hold an annual event, but the reality is that would probably burn people out quickly, and we can only ask for so much in the way of donations. I would have never had the time to get involved in events like this when I was working full-time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Working full time as a teacher, is working in overdrive. I’m pleased you’ve been able to engage in some of these other enjoyable activities, that mean so much to you, in retirement.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This is SO cool! Does the website have the virtual talks on it? My son Nikolai is struggling with reading. We’re working towards reading 1-2 books every night (having him read to me to help him improve). I’d love for him to be more involved with hearing about how people start writing books and how it’s changed their lives. Thanks for sharing such unique things Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:30 am

      The virtual part was an attempt to keep the ship afloat when Covid was so prevalent. It wasn’t really a source of virtual talks.

      You’re doing the right thing reading to and with Nikolai each night. Some of my best memories are of reading with my son. Even after he became a voracious reader, we read together through his sixth-grade year. When you read to Nikolai, a good rule of thumb is to read books a little above his reading level. It builds vocabulary development and a love for stories as the plots get more sophisticated and interesting. Try to make it fun by stopping and talking about what he thinks might happen next. Relate the stories you’re reading to things in your lives. When a child finds a series they love, their reading will grow exponentially.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh that’s incredible advice Pete! We’ll keep at it 💪. I usually have him read it first and then I re-read it to him afterwards. It helps him comprehend when we go over words that he found challenging. He’s not where the other students are at academically and that discourages him so much. I think it will click with more time and practice.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 12:07 pm

        Knowing what a good mom you are, I’m sure you’re making it a positive experience. Boys, in general, take a little bit longer. Kids are no different than adults and will inevitably compare themselves to others. Just keep encouraging and show him how much progress he’s made.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks Pete for the pick me up!! I needed that today!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow, wow, wow, Pete. What a huge undertaking and so rewarding! Your students are so lucky to have such huge community support and a large group of volunteers to make it all happen. Many congrats to you and your team for bringing books, literacy, and creativity to the kids in your area. I’m impressed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:32 am

      It’s easy to get energized when you’re with like-minded individuals. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few librarians or retired librarians among the volunteers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That makes perfect sense. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. How wonderful! Thanks for shining a light on this, Pete. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 9:34 am

      The support from local businesses has been awe-inspiring. It makes me proud to be a part of this community.

      Like

  16. What a brilliant idea to create a video featuring authors. Enthusiasm, creativity, reading suggestions – I loved the way they connected with viewers. Congrats on being a volunteer. What an adventure. Looking forward to hearing more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 2:18 pm

      I’m sure I’ll be blogging about this after the event. I get to accompany a couple of authors to the schools that they’ll be speaking at, which is a lot of fun to see them interacting with the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. You’re making a great cause, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 2:19 pm

      It’s a cool thing to be part of. I hope you’re feeling well, John.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Terrific! Thanks all around, especially to you for sharing the news of this event, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 2:22 pm

      Other beautiful parts of the festival include a sit-down dinner, potluck, and reader’s theatre. It’s fascinating to listen to their stories to learn how they became authors of children’s books.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! Such a wonderful event for all. Thanks for sharing,Pette.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. This is the perfect organization for you to volunteer for! Hurry up and publish your novel so that you can also be one of the speakers as well 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 6:39 pm

      That’s the goal eventually. I occasionally have to remind myself it’s a long process, but I’m also honest enough to know it’s not ready yet. I’ll keep plugging away until it’s the best it can be. In the meantime, I’m working with my writer’s group on children’s novel #2. I’m hoping that one won’t take as long.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It sounds like a great event! And so nice to see the community spirit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 9, 2022 — 6:39 pm

      Lots of great people working toward a great cause. I’m just happy to be a part of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m 100% in favor of promoting reading. Encouraging lifelong readers is what we are all about. Best wishes with the event, Pete. It’s sure to be a banner one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 7:33 am

      One of the things I miss most about teaching is turning kids on to a new author or series and how excited they’d get when they’d finish.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sounds super!
    Reading is the key. 📙🗝
    Keep up the good work!
    💖

    Like

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 7:39 am

      It’s one of the most well-organized events that I’ve ever been a part of. We keep the authors hopping while they are here.

      Like

  23. Hi Pete, I remember reading about this great event before. What a great opportunity for the children in your area and for you, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 1:12 pm

      Definitely a win-win. About half of the authors are returnees, while the other half are new to the festival. One thing that seems to be doing well with children these days is graphic novels. That will never be me as I’ve never had much aptitude for drawing. We’ve got a couple authors/illustrators coming.

      Like

  24. I know how much you like this event, so I’m happy to hear it is alive and well. Enjoy the Festival!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 1:14 pm

      It would be a kick to return to my old school, although the administration and many teachers are new. I should find out today what schools I’m accompanying my authors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. that would seem ideal – I hope it happens!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. What a terrific event to be a part of, I would be excited too! Children will have fun and some will even start a lifelong love of reading because of it. My mom was a huge reader and we decided to honor her memory by setting up donations to her local library. We are book fans too. Best of luck to you and the group.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 2:47 pm

      Great way to honor your mom. You may remember me writing about this a few months back, but I’m volunteering at my mom’s old assisted living place twice a week and reading to the seniors. Knowing what to choose to read is part of the challenge, but it’s been so rewarding. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot with who will show up each time, as sometimes they aren’t feeling up to it that day. One of the workers goes around and reminds them when I’m there, so they don’t have to try and remember.

      Like

  26. Festivals like this create dreams in children, both as readers and future writers. It’s wonderful to see so many caring people come together to make a difference in lives ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 7:15 pm

      It is a tribute to the community that they highly value literacy. It’s exciting that we have authors coming whose books children are already familiar with. When a school finds out which author is coming, the teachers are good about educating the kids about their books.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Lol, a thorn among the roses indeed! It’s so cool to be involved in projects like this. I too try to volunteer my knowledge (if it every qualifies to help, that is) and the feeling you get from helping an important cause is irreplaceable. Sounds like it was an amazing time too. Thanks for sharing, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 10, 2022 — 7:17 pm

      I have been on volunteer committees where the idea is excellent, but the organization is lacking. This group gets it right because so many people take an active role.

      Like

  28. This is a great thing to have. I think it’s important to teach children early the value of reading. Looking forward to hearing what happens this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 11, 2022 — 7:15 am

      I’m happy in retirement, as will you, as I know that day is fast approaching, but I miss reading to kids. I’m a bit of a ham, and it was always fun to imagine what the authors intended the characters to sound like. Watching children get turned onto reading is a high that never gets old.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Very Very cool, teacher!
    😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 11, 2022 — 5:48 pm

      Yep, I’m still finding a way to contribute in my way. My wife typically handles our travel plans, so it’s funny that I’m helping the authors get here and return safely.

      Like

  30. You have not retired in the traditional sense. Win-win all around!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 11, 2022 — 5:50 pm

      I retired earlier than the average person, primarily to concentrate on caring for my health. I always knew there was more in the tank if I could get that under control.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I love this tradition! What a unique event, Pete! I commend you for doing your part and more, and it’s a big win for your community and especially the children! What a great way to round up all of these talented authors and host such an amazing event! Your hard work clearly pays off and I am sure everyone always has the best time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 11, 2022 — 5:53 pm

      It is a cool thing for me to watch them because they’re essentially doing what I want to do. I’m already good with kids, but I have a new appreciation for writing since I’ve jumped into the deep end. If it never happens, it won’t be for lack of trying.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. This sounds like a worthwhile cause and a fun one at that. I loved reading as a child, was encouraged by my parents and teachers. I even met one author, Tasha Tudor. I was SO impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 12, 2022 — 10:03 pm

      This is an excellent opportunity for me because I’m becoming quite familiar with the authors’ books. I’ve been reading to seniors in assisted living, and have chosen some of our authors’ books for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. This is such a wonderful initiative, all around. And I’m sure it’s right up your alley, Pete. I remember you mentioning your volunteer role regarding the Children Author’s festival and you being the only male of the group. Yes, there are worse things in life! I hope the festival will be a success – beneficial for the children, authors, and volunteers involved and inspiring and rewarding on a personal level as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 14, 2022 — 5:05 pm

      Since I’m a little farther removed from the classroom, this is one way I can stay in touch with what’s popular among children these days. Fantasy and graphic novels are in vogue with the kids right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Pete, this is SO exciting! At last you are back to an in-person event. Hooray! I know how much you love this event, your passion for children’s literature and reading aloud can flourish as you drive the authors to schools. Also, it will be a perfect opportunity to learn more about the whole process of their writing and publishing. I will say it again- I am SO excited!

    Apologies I am way behind on catching up with my bloggers and their posts. I’m getting there! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 14, 2022 — 5:11 pm

      I think your get a free pass for not keeping up. I just returned from another quick trip (lots of traveling for Pete this year), and I’ll be playing catch-up now too. Debbie and I are heading to Montana in another eleven days to see Ryan and Meighan. We’ll be there for Carroll’s season opener. They’re playing the team that was the conference champ last year, so it will be fun to see how ready they are.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the free pass! 😀 You are definitely busy. I’ll be thinking of your visiting Ryan and Meighan in Montana. How can football season be here already? Best to you, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  35. What a fantastic event Pete. And even better that you are such a great part in it. Love that these authors are getting great recognition! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 15, 2022 — 7:28 pm

      It’s fun to see the reception they get from children who have already read their books. Most schools do a great job promoting each author’s upcoming visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fantastic! I’m sure the kids feel like they’re meeting someone famous! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  36. What a great cause, Pete, and such a fantastic festival – I’m sure those authors love visiting your area. Toni x

    Like

  37. What a great idea. I hope the festival goes well for you all in October.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 18, 2022 — 8:23 am

      The kids treat the authors like celebrities, cheering their arrival with signs and posters everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close