Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery

Wordstock 2017

Vera Brosgol photo

Have you thought about visiting Portland, Oregon?  Perhaps in November for Wordstock? 

Portland’s Book Festival features more than 100 authors presenting onstage events, children’s story times, pop-up readings and writing workshops.” It’s a full day of inspiration from dawn to dusk.   Woodstock is like going to your favorite book club with 10,000 of your best friends.  Attendees have an opportunity to attend between five to seven sessions in one day! It’s a librarians’ dream come true.  Since I work with all ages, mapping out a variety of authors is essential.  Afterwards, I look back at my scribbled notes and books on hold and begin to organize ways to share my ideas at the library.  Reader’s advisory is number one. Sharing books with library customers after hearing author’s share highlights brings energy and excitement to each new book!

Onstage Events Wordstock 2017

Children’s Story Time –  The special story times at Wordstock are always a favorite.  Located in the Miller Gallery at the Portland Art Museum, the room is filled with children sitting on the floor eagerly listening and participating in the interactive story followed by the making of a story with illustrations.  Rows of chairs are set up in the back of the room with tables behind highlighting books and book related items for sale.  There’s also a small table set-up for book signing following each story time.  The story times are every 30 minutes with Emily Arrow providing sing-alongs.  It’s loud and at times crazy but it all seems to work – and most of all – children of all ages are having an amazing time! It takes a rock star author/illustrator to present in this environment and Dan Santat was the king of story times last year. The whole room was listening, smiling and creating illustrations along with a new Beekle story.  This year, Vera Brosgol had the whole room yelling, “Leave Me Along!” while she read her book aloud followed by illustrations and creating a group story together.  Amazing! Ben Clanton, another favorite, shared his new book, Boo Who?. One parent said, “It was so fun to watch because of their ability to tell stories with their words and pictures.  The best part is watching the kids in the audience and to watch him draw their favorite characters.”

Did I mention Lit Crawl, the Friday night event the day before!  (Poetry Karaoke – Picture yourself reading or singing your favorite Jack Pretutsky poem with a live band!)

But the question is what to bring back to your library?  Beside from the amazing readers’ advisory knowledge from the diverse group of books you read before your visit, you’ll also have a wonderful collection of books to use for book clubs.   After hearing from each authors’ presentation, you can use them for discussions and share favorite tips from each author.  For example, Carson Ellis shared stories about bugs and how Du Iz Tak? has been translated into many different languages.  So many interesting facts about books, writing styles and more from authors and illustrators!

Discover a wonderful selection of program ideas for your library including creating camps – writing, poetry and drawing camps.  Take notes! The author’s writing tips are perfect to share at writing camps followed by each of their books.

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Most likely, you’ll come home with piles of books (use the $5 coupon with your $15 admission).  But I usually end up with a new friend – this year it was Narwhal! Have you been to Wordstock?  Please share your fun experiences in the comments below.   Hope to see you next November at Wordstock 2018!

Explore the books from Wordstock 2017:
Wordstock 2017 Book List
Wordstock 2017 Favorite Fiction, Non-Fiction and Teens
Wordstock 2017 Favorite Children’s Books

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