• Kassi Kincaid

The Texas Book Festival

Experiencing the best literary festival in the Lone Star State

Every fall, the city of Austin hosts a dynamic literary event known as the Texas Book Festival.

Founded in 1995, by First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush, and a host of other volunteers, this event promotes the love of literacy, honors the work of authors, and benefits Texas public libraries. Today, this festival is recognized as one of the most prestigious literary festivals in the country, attracting authors not only from Texas, but all over the world.

While this event hosts a variety of exhibitors, panels, presentations, and activities, I was attracted to the festival to see Sherri Duskey Rinker. She is the best-selling author of Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, one of my favorite

children's books. I couldn't miss the opportunity to meet her! At this festival, Sherri and her illustrator Don Tate were showcasing their book- Roto and Roy Helicopter Heroes. During their 30 minute presentation, Sherri did a dramatic reading of the book followed by a creative drawing exercise by Don. It was such a special experience to hear an author read her own work. Sherri's voice inflections and climactic sounds truly brought helicopter Roto and pilot Roy to life and their sensational fire-fighting adventure.

When asked about her inspiration for this book, Sherri said she wanted to write a book about another vehicle. Her series Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site featured an array of construction vehicles and this time she focused her attention on a flying female helicopter that takes part in heroic humanitarian missions.

Towards the end of their presentation, Don explained that illustrators are problem solvers. They must take the words of the author and determine the best way to visually tell the story.

For a fun demonstration, he invited Sherri to finish the drawing he started. Don drew some squiggles across a whole sheet of paper, seemingly devising a challenging situation. However, in a matter of moments, Sherri repurposed the squiggles into a set of curly locks! Watching an author have transparent vision in a matter of moments was truly inspirational.

It was such an honor to meet both Sherri and Don at the Texas Book Festival! Thanks to talented creatives like Sherri and Don Book Days is able to supplementarily promote emergent literacy amongst children by bringing their books to life.

Be sure to get your copy of Roto and Roy! The sequel will come out in March.

As Sherri says, "Keep reading!"

Until next time,


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