A Noble Cause

2022 Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival
Authors/Illustrators for the 2022 Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival

One of the perks of retirement is I can devote my energy to those causes I’m most passionate about. As a retired educator, I’ll always do whatever I can to promote literacy and writing. I saw many students blossom after they fell in love with reading. One of my favorite daily activities was reading to children, regardless of what grade I taught. (I was a teacher in grades 2-6 during my career.)

Reading to children is one of the best ways I know to build vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. Equally important is when children observe how much fun teachers/adults have reading to them. Children develop a desire to want to become better readers themselves. I constantly recommended favorite authors and titles based on a student’s interests, so I could help foster a love for reading as they began to read more independently. It was the most natural means of reinforcement.

I am enjoying nearly all aspects of retirement, though aging is not for the faint of heart. I miss reading to kids, and I’m still working on opportunities to continue that passion. I’ve read to seniors in assisted living twice a week for the past several months. Literature has been the vehicle that connects us. Regardless of age, everyone loves a good story.

Photo Credit to Los Muertos Crew on Pexels

While I taught, one of my favorite events was a visit from a children’s author to our school. I didn’t know much about the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival in those days, other than they escorted children’s authors to our school every two years. The authors’ talks inspired me as I watched children’s eyes come alive as writers shared how their ideas and books came to fruition. What I liked most was that their visits helped children understand that writing was something to enjoy, not fear. After each presentation, we’d return to class, and a student would inevitably say, “I’m going to be a writer.” How great was that?

Last week, I volunteered on that same committee as we hosted 21 authors (2 of them local) who attended approximately 50 schools in the county. It was initially supposed to be 25 authors, but two authors dropped out in the days leading up to the festival for health reasons. Two others ran into travel issues (see below).

List of Authors/Illustrators from 2022 Author Festival

Caroline Arnold                 Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen         Bob Barner

Larry Brimner                    Erik Brooks                                 Judy Cox

Barry Deutsch                    Dan Gemeinhart                         Kelly Milner-Halls

Valerie Hobbs                     Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw          Kirby Larson

Connie McLennan             Rowan Mallory                           Bethanie Murguia

Alexis O’Neill                     Lisa Papp                                    Rosanne Parry

Carrie Pearson                   Carlene Meredith Cogliati          Lori R. Snyder

Greg Trine                           Jasmine Warga

Author Valerie Hobbs shared this early photo with the kids when she began writing.
Author Valerie Hobbs speaking to kids today.

(Special thanks to author Caroline Arnold for the author photos seen below.)

Caroline Arnold, Bob Barner, and Bethanie Murguia
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Erik Brooks
Judy Cox and Greg Trine
Barry Deutsch and Rosanne Parry

Lori R. Snyder and Rowan Mallory
Jasmine Warga and Carlene Meredith Cogliati
Alexis O’Neill and Valerie Hobbs
Connie McLennan and Carrie Pearson
Kelly Milner Halls and Larry Brimner
Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw and Lisa Papp

Since 1975, the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival has brought 25 authors from around the country to Humboldt County every two years. It is no small feat to gather these fabulous writers and illustrators together. The authors choose whether to fly or drive (paid for by the committee), and we put them up at one of the classiest hotels in town for four nights while they are here.

When I tell people about the Children’s Author Festival, they typically ask, “How do you pay for all this?” The answer is we have some fabulous fundraisers on our committee, and our community and local businesses make this event possible. One of our most significant regular contributors is the Humboldt Area Foundation, but many local businesses also donate.

Each committee member takes on several roles. My primary function was to serve as the Travel Coordinator. That meant working closely with a travel agent to ensure the authors could fly into our little regional airport on the Pacific coast in northern California. Four separate flights were supposed to come in on Wednesday. Two were from San Francisco, one from Los Angeles, and another from Denver. It was way more convenient when Portland was a connecting city to the north, but that service went away several years ago.

We occasionally have fog in our area, but that is usually for only brief periods. For three weeks leading up to the festival, the fog persisted. As our event drew nearer, I worried that some authors might be unable to get here.  

As each flight arrived that day, drivers waited at the airport to escort the authors to the Carter House, a Victorian-style hotel in town. We held an opening reception on Wednesday night at the Morris Graves Museum. The gathering is typically an opportunity for the authors to meet one another and us, but that’s when things went off the rails. I was supposed to leave during the evening to pick up the last two authors flying in from San Francisco. That’s when I got the first notification on my phone that the aircraft was experiencing delays due to fog. No! The festival is incredibly well-organized from start to finish, but unexpected events can throw everything out of sync. Each author/illustrator had designated school presentations for Thursday and Friday. How could they do that if they didn’t make it to town?

That evening the flight eventually got canceled. We put the two authors up in a hotel in San Francisco (a five-hour drive from Eureka), understanding that they’d fly in the next day, though they’d likely have to miss one of their school visits. The next day was more of the same. Imagine not having one flight leave or arrive the entire day because of the near-constant fog. Maybe the authors could rent a car and drive here. It was a huge ask, but they were willing to do that. Unfortunately, given the circumstances, no rental cars were available. We felt terrible for the authors and the schools they were supposed to attend. I can’t begin to describe how gracious, patient, and understanding these two authors (Dan Gemeinhart and Kirby Larson) were throughout the process. After two days of trying to get here, they finally flew home. Both have since ZOOMED with their schools which further speaks of their character.

Author Kirby Larson
Author Dan Gemeinhart

Thankfully, the rest of the four days went much smoother. We put on a catered dinner for the authors one night with a local high school group providing the entertainment with excerpts from one of the author’s books. One new feature this year included escorting the authors to the Redwood Sky Walk, located inside the Sequoia Park Zoo, for a guided tour of the redwood forest. That same evening, we held a banquet at the historic Carson Mansion, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner and listened to three-minute speeches from each author. To say I felt inspired is a vast understatement.

Authors crossing a suspension bridge at the Redwood Sky Walk. Photo Credit to Peter Santino
Author Caroline Arnold in front of the Carson Mansion

The festival’s conclusion was the Book Sale at the Humboldt County Library. Children and their parents met the authors, got autographs, took photographs, and purchased some of their books. Since many children had an author attend their school, it added to the level of excitement for the kids.

I’m incredibly proud of our community for promoting such a worthwhile cause. This year 33 volunteers served on the committee. I was the token male, but as I like to say, “There are far worse things in life than working with a bunch of great ladies committed to literacy.” Events like this don’t happen without the efforts of many. I commend the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival for its sustained efforts to promote literacy and writing.    

Our fabulous coordinators (Linda, Becky, and Joan)
Photo of part of the 2019 Author’s Festival Committee (I’m in the middle of the back row.)

116 thoughts on “A Noble Cause

  1. What an amazing event. You have every reason to be proud of being part of it. Travel arrangements can be tricky at times. Nothing one can do about the weather. Tell me, are the authors invited or do they have to apply to be part of the 4-day event? My favourite part of being an author is visiting schools and libraries and reading to the children.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:30 pm

      One of the many committees is called the “selection committee.” I won’t bail from travel, but I want to be in that group next time. I know the leader of that group is a retired child’s librarian, so she is pretty familiar with children’s books. I know the authors don’t apply, but I’m not sure what goes into the selections. I think I heard that one of the criteria may have been that an author has to have at least two published works.

      Part of it is trying to get a cross-section of authors writing for different age groups. It was a fair mix of authors writing picture books, early readers, middle-grade, fiction, non-fiction, and perhaps a young adult author or two. The breakdown was something like 14 returnees and 10 first-timers. If I learn anything new, I’ll let you know, Darlene.

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      1. Thanks! I also wanted to add that I just love this year’s logo. Did one of the illustrators design it?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:03 am

        One of the committee members has a daughter who is a skilled artist. It really is “all hands on deck” when pulling everything off.

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  2. This is wonderful Pete! An excellent way to promote literacy.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:32 pm

      Absolutely! I wanted to show photos of how many kids came to the library with their parents because it was steady for four hours. Privacy issues won’t allow me to take random photos of kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful event, Pete. Well worth the time in preparation. Kudos to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:35 pm

      An enormous amount of work and time goes into pulling something like this off. The tricky part is continuing to add people to the committee. There is no shortage of experience, but we must continue adding new faces.

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  4. A terrific event, Pete. Thanks for sharing. Sad the two authors couldn’t make it. I’m sure they would have loved it.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:39 pm

      Both have participated in the past. I was bummed the two couldn’t make it because they write for the age (upper middle grades) I want to write for. I was looking forward to spending half the day with Dan while escorting him to one of his schools. I’d hoped to pick his brain a little. His new book was recently reviewed in The New York Times.

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      1. That is disappointing! Maybe you’ll have an opportunity to meet Dan next year?

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      2. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:35 pm

        I met him once before, but I was looking forward to telling him that I’ve been reading one of his novels to my seniors’ group at assisted living. I think he would have been pleased. He is a humble guy (former teacher and librarian) without any ego who is making a name for himself in this business.

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  5. this sounds like such an incredible festival for so many reasons. travel coordinator can be a stressful job and glad it all got sorted out. how wonderful for everyone involved and what a great way to spend your well-earned time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:42 pm

      Much more travel drama this time, even for weeks leading up to the event. I was either lucky or naive (probably both) last time because the only challenging days before were the ones when the authors flew in and out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. learning as we go –

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I recognize the very distinctive Carson Mansion. We attended a wedding there once. When I worked for the library I escorted the San Soucci brothers to their school visit and we sold author books at the Bayshore Mall. Great memories! Sounds like it was a successful festival except for a couple weeks of hiccups. I know that Humboldt fog well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 4:46 pm

      I’ve lived here since 1974 but haven’t seen this level of fog in decades. It reminded me of the old days. Thankfully, there were no issues on the back end because we could very easily have ended up with authors trapped here. The hotel by the airport doesn’t have a restaurant, so that’s also an issue Seven authors (it was originally nine) flew out at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, so the last night, they spent the night out there rather than in Eureka. The hotel shuttle brought them to the airport.

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      1. Did you ever dine at the Silver Lining when it operated at the airport? We enjoyed many fine dinners there.

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  7. What a fabulous event! I know it’s an amazing and valuable event for the kids, but for some reason I was focussing on how amazing it must have been for the authors participating. Hanging out with other authors, enjoying the activities that you organized for them, and talking to the kids must have been an amazing experience for them (too bad for the two that didn’t make it). Now I want to be a children’s author and be invited to your festival!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:19 pm

      There was a certain sense of community that was charming between them. There were some who already knew each other. I enjoyed watching new friendships forming as they often hung out in the hotel lobby, socialized, and talked about writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember last year’s event, Pete, and I was so impressed. I can’t believe a whole year has already gone by. It sounds like you had a fantastic event and could handle the hiccups without a problem. I’m sure the authors loved it as much as the kids. You have a wonderful community. Congrats on a wonderful event. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:22 pm

      We usually hold this festival every two years. Lots of money needs to be raised, and it requires enormous planning. The only reason there was a virtual event last year was because of COVID, and it had already been two years since the last one. Virtual was better than nothing, but authors in person with children is where the action is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was virtual last year? Ha ha. I got it in my mind that it was a happening thing. At least I got the year right. And I can imagine the planning. Well worth it and what a great way (one of many) for you to continue to make a difference.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What a great cause! This is really an awesome endeavor! Eureka is not easy to get from anywhere, I’m glad there were not more setbacks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:25 pm

      The Humboldt area is sometimes called “behind the redwood curtain.” There have been times during highway closures when we seem to be cut off from the world.

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  10. Such a great cause and event. Sounds like a win-win for everyone involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:26 pm

      I wish I could have shown some of the author/children interaction. So much happiness between adults and kids. Receiving a personalized message from an author inside one’s book is pretty cool.

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  11. Thank you for sharing details and photos of this wonderful event. Kudos to everyone involved, most especially the travel coordinator!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 7:36 pm

      The travel coordinator needs to take a trip to recover from dealing with all these travel woes. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With someone else making the travel arrangements!

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  12. I felt so bad for the authors who couldn’t make it and for the students of the schools they were supposed to attend. Darn weather! But, you all pulled off another incredible event. I totally understand how you’d be inspired, Pete. Also, that 2022 design on the banner and author shirts is amazing!! Well done to the entire committee!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 26, 2022 — 10:06 pm

      I’ve volunteered with other groups before, but this is one of the more committed and dedicated groups I’ve ever worked on. I feed off the positive energy of others.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That is what I call putting your retirement to good use. Sounds like a marvelous event, Pete! I am inspired by your deep desire to always be giving back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:34 am

      I had no chance as it was ingrained in us at an early age from parents who set that standard. Like all good leaders, they didn’t just talk a good game; they set the example.

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  14. Sonded like a great event. When children are involved it has to be great. Hope there are less problems next time.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:37 am

      It is a pretty remarkable feat, considering how many people are involved. One of the authors told us this was his last time coming. (his 10th appearance)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What an amazing event, Pete! I’m glad it went so well, despite the best efforts of nature to derail things, and the commitment and dedication of everyone involved is a delight to see. The benefits for the children are probably unquantifiable, but I doubt they will ever forget this.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:39 am

      It is something to watch children clutching an autographed book with enormous grins on their faces as if they’ve found the Fountain of Youth. The authors were like rock stars to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anything which encourages the enjoyment of reading is to be applauded. Having those autographed copies will be something they will always treasure.

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  16. Truly impressive the causes that you have dedicated your time to. My mum is a teacher who is going to retire soon, I pass on ideas from your posts to her on the things she can pursue after retirement. So glad that the even went well despite fog playing a spoilsport.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:43 am

      Of course, there hasn’t been a cloud in the sky practically the entire week since. While it was regrettable that two never made it (both people writing the kind of stories I want to write), it could have been worse. What if they all got stuck in town? We’d have no choice but to keep paying for their lodging and feed them.

      I hope things are going better for you, Moksha. Good to hear from you.

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  17. What an amazing festival, Pete, and such a great thing to be part of. Connecting children with books and authors is much more valuable than the dollar amounts would ever indicate. Won’t it be wonderful when you get to participate as an author!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:46 am

      Taking part as an author has always been in the back of my mind. I’m still writing each week. I feel like I’m still climbing the hill but getting closer to the crest.

      Great points, Norah. There are unquantifiable results from things like this that we may never know about. One of the two local authors talked about participating in the festival as a child and now returning as an adult author. Cool stuff!

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      1. I’m so pleased you’re reaching the crest, Pete. I can’t wait to read your published book. It will be just as cool for you joining the festival as a published author too. 🙂

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  18. This is so cool! I love how much your area does to promote literacy. Kudos to all the volunteers and authors.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:48 am

      It all started as a half-day gathering when some local librarians and educators invited a few authors to the area. It’s grown huge since then, but I think we’ve maxed out at 25. The dollars alone prevent us from doing this more than once every two years.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:50 am

      I loved it, but it’s been a big sigh of relief for me this week. I know I’ll take part again, but we need to keep adding new volunteers. We’re not getting any younger. 😉

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  19. D.L. Finn, Author October 27, 2022 — 7:42 am

    It looks like everyone had fun! How wonderful they can not only interact with the amazing kids, but explore the local beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 8:53 am

      Right! I must remind myself how many people have likely never seen a redwood tree before. We had authors coming from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, etc. The author from Michigan drove out with her husband and made a sightseeing trip out of it. Maybe that will be her next book.

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  20. Hi Pete, what a wonderful event. I would love to be part of an event like this one. I would never have spotted the single thorn among the roses [wink!]

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 12:23 pm

      Quite a thorn it is. 😊 After a rocky start, it was such a joyous event. I was happy to see so many people gathering and discussing reading and books with children. We want the next generation to be educated and compassionate.

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      1. YES!!! Reading is vital to developing empathy and understanding.

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  21. What an amazing endeavor. I first looked for you in the photo of authors but then did find you in the workers group. I hope you get featured one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 12:25 pm

      Maybe someday. That’s the dream, anyway. I feel like I’ve got to finish learning how to walk before I take the giant leap of faith.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet you are much closer than you realize.

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  22. Hearty congratulations to all the authors – my proudest day when when my children started to read!

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 12:26 pm

      I never got tired of the feeling of seeing kids excited about books. It was music to my ears when I was reading to them, and they uttered those magic words, “Don’t stop!”

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  23. I read aloud to all my classes as well, and I taught grades 9-12. They all loved to be read to. That is quite a feat to put on the authors’ festival. Congrats!

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 9:37 pm

      One of the best parts of each day was reading to our son at the end of the day. I read to him through 6th grade. When he’s home (that isn’t often since he lives more than 1,000 miles away now, it does my heart good when he reaches for a book.

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  24. It’s interesting to see all the background work that goes into making an event like this successful. I can see the students’ star-struck eyes having all those wonderful authors show up just for them 🙂

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    1. petespringerauthor October 27, 2022 — 9:40 pm

      There were so many great photos of kids with authors. I wish I could share those moments with my readers because the looks on the kids’ faces are priceless. They feel especially connected when individual authors have already visited their schools.

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  25. I’m sorry about the snafus, but it sounds like it was another excellent experience. Kudos to the organizers, it really is a phenomenal concept. It is interesting to me personally to observe (as you point out) you were the only male in a group of 33. Promoting literacy is clearly not an exclusive male or female field, and the group hosted several male authors, so the law of averages should see more male volunteers involved. I am simply curious on why that is, nothing more. (I’ve been really focused this year on male and female roles which is why I’m sure I paid attention to this piece of the story.) It’s so great that you jumped on board to such an important cause Pete.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 28, 2022 — 9:02 am

      The gender thing is not a big deal to me, and I don’t even think about it at this point other than to wonder why other men haven’t gotten on board. Literacy is obviously not gender-specific. I experienced some of this in my career as there weren’t a lot of male teachers at my school. One trend I was happy to see developing was more men were teaching in the primary grades, which I rarely saw starting out.

      Interestingly enough, crisp, clear weather has been the norm this week. My wife will be traveling in November, and I know all the foggy weather has been on her mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh, that’s a great point that you saw fewer male teachers during your career. This alone might be an answer to my question. Like you, I simply wonder why. I LOVE that you are seeing more men teaching primary grades. What a positive trend breaking up old traditions. Since it’s so clear now, maybe that foggy pattern has cleared out for good. 😊 Safe travels to your wife in November…which is almost here already. Wow!

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  26. That’s great Pete. So many of our libraries here in the UK have been closed in cost-cutting ‘initiatives’ over the last 10 years. Many of these included children’s sections; as you know there is nothing quite like the thrill of discovering books when young.

    An inspiring post.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 28, 2022 — 9:06 am

      School librarians are considered a luxury item in our schools too, Paul. I don’t think most people realize that librarians offer great insight into children that their teachers may not be aware of. There were always a few children who were much happier spending time in the library than the playground.

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  27. God bless you and all the hard working members of the Author’s Festival Committee. What a wonderful way to help inspire children to read, to learn, and to dream!

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    1. petespringerauthor October 28, 2022 — 4:33 pm

      It’s really a remarkable group of volunteers, Nancy. I don’t take this group for granted because I understand how rare and unique it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow! That’s quite a community you have to put together such an event with an outreach to authors and the organizing required–not to mention the funding. I am truly impressed at your success and determination to get the two who missed, but the weather is what it is!

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    1. petespringerauthor October 28, 2022 — 4:36 pm

      So much planning goes into this festival, A few bumps in the road are not unexpected, but I felt awful for the two authors who did all they could to participate and for the kids who didn’t get to meet them in person. The schools typically introduce the kids to the author’s books weeks in advance, so that part was disappointing.

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  29. This is an amazing event that suggests you live in an area that appreciates books and learning and having a good time in the process. It’s cool that you’ve been part of it over the years. The photo of the authors walking on the rope bridge is delightful. Children’s literature is such a dynamic genre that I suppose it makes perfect sense that it’d make for a great festival.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 29, 2022 — 6:37 pm

      It was wonderful to have all that creativity in one place. I must compliment the Author Selection Committee for choosing a great range of children’s writers, from picture books to even some YA books. It was fun for us to escort the authors to the Redwood Sky Walk, as I’m pretty sure some had never seen a redwood before.

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  30. Wonderful post! Having served on committees similar to these, I know how much time and effort it takes to engineer a smooth-running event. I sense a lot of camaraderie among the authors: matching tee shirts and “pal-postures,” if there is such a thing. I smiled when I read, “I was the token male, but as I like to say, ‘There are far worse things in life than working with a bunch of great ladies committed to literacy.'”

    I noticed also your photo of the walk across the suspension bridge among the Redwoods. I assume you crossed the bridge at some point. Your photo reminded me of the Capilano Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C. I do remember how hard it was to keep my balance crossing the bridge, a great metaphor for life and work.

    Kudos to all, and to you, Pete, for documenting such a worthy cause. 😀

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    1. petespringerauthor October 29, 2022 — 6:40 pm

      So much work, but well worth it. I’m already thinking about the next one in two years. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I’d love to participate as an author rather than a volunteer down the road. I continue to take inspiration from writers like you, Marian, who are dedicated to making the writing dream happen.

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  31. Glad to hear this! We all stand on the shoulders of those who have paved the way. 😀

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  32. What an incredible undertaking Pete and so challenging with the weather but it sounds like everyone had an amazing few days and the children must have been inspired. The authors too must have left feeling bolstered by the enthusiasm and warm welcome. Great job.. x

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    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:38 am

      It was truly inspiring to listen to the stories authors shared about connecting with children—for me, that’s what this is all about. I’ve seen firsthand how stories connect with people from my years as a teacher and now reading to seniors.

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  33. Amazing, hats off to you Pete. I cannot imagine not being able to read. I helped a young man of 30 fill in his CV for a job and was completely shocked to find he could not read or write. I spent a great deal of time with him trying to help. Failed by everyone. I could read and write before I went to school and my heart breaks thinking of what children and adults miss out on by not being able to do either. Books are the windows to the world, to the imagination, and beyond. Without them we are not complete as humans.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:44 am

      I was only one small cog in a connected machine of great folks. I loved the entire event, especially when I saw a steady stream of parents with children coming to meet the authors and purchase some of their books. It is a fantastic example for children to see that their parents also value books.

      I’ve watched reading/education open the doors for many young people, so I will continue promoting events like this one.

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  34. Reblogged this on Jane Risdon and commented:
    Such a fantastic undertaking. Hats off to you all. Promoting Literacy is so important. Good luck and continued success to eveyone involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:45 am

      Thanks so much for the reblog, Jane. Promoting literacy should be a global desire.

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    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:45 am

      I very much appreciate the reblog, Michael.

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  35. Hi Pete! You are on a wonderful mission. What a great event. Thanks for sharing the news, and keep on networking for the best our communites have: the children. Best wishes, Michael

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    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:47 am

      I’m proud to live in a community that values events like The Author’s Festival. There are an amazing core of volunteers who contribute to make this all come together.

      Like

  36. What a superb event – and superb authors too. It was heartwarming to hear of the efforts made, by those who were caught by the fog, to connect to the children in the end. As a former teacher, I can’t think of a more beneficial event for children. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 7:57 pm

      I was busy most of the time, but on Saturday it was just fun to sit back and watch all the joy in kids’ eyes as they interacted with the authors.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Wonderful event Pete. You are a wonderful advocate for literacy. I enjoyed the before and after photos too. What a fabulous and authorly reunion. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:00 pm

      Having participated before, it was great to renew some of those friendships while making new ones. One of the perks of my job was I got to interact with nearly all of the authors. It’s fascinating to listen to their stories about how they became writers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubts, as writers, we love learning of other’s journeys. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  38. That sounds absolutely brilliant, Pete – what a great event. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 31, 2022 — 8:02 pm

      We had a diverse group of authors with different backgrounds and ethnicities. It’s something to realize how many came from quite a distance and participated along with two local authors.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Much kudos to you, Pete. What a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 1, 2022 — 12:20 pm

      There were some tense moments behind the scenes, but the festival was a big success due to the efforts of many.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. What an amazing show of love and support for your community but also a great community of readers and authors! This is something I see myself doing when I retire!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 1, 2022 — 10:28 pm

      I’d say the breakdown is about 2/3 retired and 1/3 still working. Regardless, it’s a great bunch of committed individuals. Things like this don’t happen unless there are tons of volunteers.

      Like

  41. “Literature has been the vehicle that connects us. Regardless of age, everyone loves a good story.” My goodness, that is profound. You are added to my favorite quotations! Pete, this post is absolutely wonderful. I’ve read it many times over the past few days, savoring the stories. I can imagine the walk over the Redwood Skywalk bridge, and the dinner banquet at Carson Mansion. Wow! It’s hard to imagine coordinating so many authors and schools over many days. Lucky you to be the travel coordinator, even though fog kept two authors away. Were you able to stay in a classroom and hear an author read aloud to students? Did you go to the banquet and walk over the redwood forest? I will be having sweet dreams about the whole Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 2, 2022 — 10:06 am

      I experienced every part of the festival, as I hoped I would. The best part was that I made new friendships with authors and volunteers. I never felt the need to get reenergized for writing, but this was the perfect antidote anyway. I wish I could have made a recording of each author’s three-minute talk because there were so many profound and inspiring stories. The stories of their connections with individual children nearly brought me to tears. I know you get it 1000%—this is why people like you and me are teachers. I’ve realized that writing is my new form of teaching. I’m still learning a ton about writing, but I’m the most eager of students.

      If you and Steve ever make it to California, the Redwood Sky Walk will have to be part of that visit. https://www.redwoodskywalk.com/

      I attended Valerie Hobbs’s presentation, which was great. She is such a genuine, down-to-earth person. We even got to take a walk along Humboldt Bay just talking about writing and life. My one regret is that I didn’t get to spend half a day with Dan Gemeinhart (his middle-grade stories are brilliant), as I was supposed to accompany him to a school one of the days. I’d highly recommend you check him out if you’re unfamiliar with his work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am excited just reading this! I’m so glad you got to experience the whole festival. I can imagine that the friendships you made are memorable and life long.

        I wondered how it would be listening to each of the authors speak for three minutes. Well, I’m not surprised it was a ‘big wow’. I would have been so moved to hear their inspiring stories and connecting with children. Yes, I would have cried. You know how much I ‘get it’. If Humboldt puts the recording on YouTube (I hope they do), please let me know!

        Pete, the most profound statement you made was, “I realized that writing is my new form of teaching.” YES!

        I will look up Valerie Hobbs. Lovely that you spent time with her. I will also look up Dan Gemeinhart. This disappointment must be akin to if I were accompanying Kate DiCamillo to an event and she couldn’t get there. Sigh!

        Best to you, my friend,

        Liked by 1 person

  42. Thank goodness for Zoom, a valuable standby. I think after Covid and freak weather events, not to mention strikes and staff shortages, we are all only too aware that events can easily be disrupted or cancelled, but it must have been very stressful for your two authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 3, 2022 — 11:59 am

      They were understandably disappointed about not being able to get to their schools. I’m reading one of Dan’s books to my seniors right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. WOW Pete! Your gift for teaching while donating your time even after retirement is incredibly admirable. I’ve missed your blog and you SO SO SO much. Sorry for being MIA! Every bone and muscle in my body is aching from all the hard work before winter on the farm. It’s been a labor of love to prepare for both cold weather and spring. Lots of flower bulbs have been arriving and I still have things I have to order 😬. I hope to catch up on everything I’ve missed reading on your blog shortly! Bare with me 🥰🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 4, 2022 — 10:55 am

      No worries. I know how busy life can get. Your posts always connect with me, so I’ve missed them. The one regarding your son and not enjoying school was heartbreaking, both from my perspective as a retired teacher and parent.

      Speaking of which, my wife and I are about to hop in my truck and drive to Oregon, where our son’s football team (he coaches) is playing tomorrow. It seems impossible that he turns 30 later this month. He’s (and us by association) got a big year in front of him as he’s getting married next June. We’re going to meet one set (divorced) of our future daughter-in-law’s parents over Thanksgiving.

      Like

      1. What a wonderful way to spend the week! Your son sounds wonderful and I am on pins and needles awaiting wedding pictures. Your pride in his is tangible through your words here and on your blog. It’s lovely 🥰! I’m so glad I was missed by you!! Nikolai and I are reading every night. I have him sound out words and read to me. He is improving, it’s slow but it’s happening. I have another meeting with the principal and his teacher next week. I’m not looking forward to it and I’m pretty tired of being jerked around by the school district. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted!

        Liked by 1 person

  44. This sounds amazing. I just wish it was available here in england.
    I’ve visitied many schools on supply cover teaching and in that role the children are always so excited to hear that I write childrens books too.
    I leave a copy of one of my books in passing but in this instance I am the ‘Unexpected Guest’, the author in disguise as a teacher.
    I have /had been adopted by a school pre lockdown but sadly everything has changed.
    I am currently enjoying reding with my young grandson (aged 3 this week) and am relearning and enjoying reading books.
    I try to read different books than the current favourites and as Nanny’s books are old he certainly is enjoying a few.
    Reading is indeed key and opens up imagination as well as wealth of vocabulary.

    who knows maybe your initiative might grow, it certainly should.
    Authors love to share and to hear from their readers as well as share their writing journey.

    A great post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 7, 2022 — 12:52 pm

      Great to see you reading with your grandchild, Sue. I have many fabulous memories of reading with our son, and I’m hoping for this grandchild moment somewhere down the road. (Our son is marrying in June.)

      Things like this were especially tough to keep afloat during the pandemic, so it was great to gather again after three years.

      I like your phrase, “author in disguise as a teacher.” As I continue to work on my middle-grade novels, I’ve realized that writing is my new form of teaching.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I loved reading with my children but somehow as a grandparent, reading occasionally, I’ve noticed how his concentration has developed.

        I did think I could stop teaching now but I like to meet children face to face so continue as a teacher.
        Sadly, two things I’ve noticed, post pandemic,
        1. Young children’s concentration in class, is quite difficult, they have got used to watching TV and don’t have the staying power (yet), to listen to a story book.
        2. Pressure on schools to get children reading and writing has overlooked the listening skills. (This is even more important in early years.). there is not as much time set aside for listening to a story (that isn’t a core or topic book!)

        This is why your event is very impostant.
        To be agood writer you also need to be a good listener.

        I do see class chapter books read with older children in class but these can be dictated and quite a challenge. What if it’s a book you don’t enjoy?
        I borrowed a few from schools during the pandemic to see what theymight be eading. some good, some not so good. If you are a reluctant reader or struggle this can be tricky too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor November 8, 2022 — 8:09 am

        Lots of great points. I think the trick is getting students to develop a love for reading/books in whatever way we can. For most, that involves finding something they’re interested in. Of course, the amount of reading in one’s home is also an important factor. Thanks for all your substantive comments, Sue.

        Liked by 1 person

  45. What an incredible festival and undertaking, Pete. Ahh, the weather… The community spirit and bringing together of kindred spirits is fantastic and to gift, and the love of reading to young ones is a gift that lasts a lifetime. You are a special soul. Xx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 7, 2022 — 12:56 pm

      I feel lucky to be able to pick and choose the things to volunteer for. Not surprisingly, many committee members are either former or current educators.

      While I appreciate your kind remarks, I don’t think I’m doing anything remarkable. We should all strive to find ways to contribute to a better world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is wonderful that you have projects within your community to choose from, Pete and no, it is no surprise that many committee members are former educators. They are hard wired to get things done.

        You are gracious and we still think you are special. Much love to you both. ❤ Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  46. What a wonderful event for the children and authors alike! I agree with you that reading to children is extremely beneficial, Pete. Communication and literacy are some of the most important skills a child can learn. Thank you for sharing this and for your devotion to these children. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor November 13, 2022 — 7:49 am

      It did my heart good to see so many parents with their children. I witnessed many excited kids saying to their parents, “There’s our author!” These school visits show children how many authors write stories based on their experiences. There’s no reason the kids can’t do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

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