The LA Times Festival of Books!
Ever since the Los Angeles Times began this wonderful yearly weekend book fair in 1996, I have wanted to go. Seventeen years later, I can not only finally mark it off my bucket list, but know I want to return each year!
Held at The University of Southern California in Downtown LA. This was also the first time I have ever visited the campus, and it was lovely. Very old world buildings, beautiful landscaping and loads of trees (I admit, I am somewhat of a Tree Hugger).
The 2 day event has various booths throughout the entire campus, most of which you can buy a book (duh) & also meet the author. Famous LA bookstores, like Book Soup and Vroman’s (a bookshop in Pasadena I have gone to since I was a baby!), are very present as well stages throughout holding interviews, lectures, storytimes & concerts.
My 1st stop on Sunday was The Target Children’s Stage; the entire area surrounding was devoted to little attendees with playtime tents, free crowns, crayons & more. I arrived with time to spare to grab a seat close to the stage to wait for….the one & only, Julie Andrews! I was in good company as those around me waited as well with Mary Poppins fans to wave & Princess Diaries crowns to wear. Before Julie hit the stage, you can imagine how thrilled I was that Laura Numeroff was up first, I had no idea & completely nerded out! If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Laura’s claim to fame, was & is one of my most favorite story books. Laura gave a great chat that the audience, both young & old could relate to. She spoke of writing her 1st book when she was 9, it was inspired during a long car trip where she dreamed about a zebra eating Cheetos, & how orange he became (That sounds very classic for a gal who has written If You Give a Moose A Muffin or A Pig A Pancake). She felt discouraged during her college years, trying to get published, she explained ‘rejection’, in-case anyone in the audience did not know the word yet;-) & that you should not give up, because if she had, she would not be reading to us today! What spoke most to me that she said is, we ALL make mistakes. She asked us if any of us have, & we all raised our hands, which was a great thing, she explained, because something is wrong you if you do not make mistakes. Well said, Laura!
Then, next up….Julie Andrews. It felt like waiting for a rock concert to begin! The train conductor host introduced her as the lady we know from Mary Poppins (screams galore!) & The Sound of Music (even MORE roars & screams!), the entire crowd was thrilled. Julie looks exactly as you would expect her to; so graceful, adorable & that unmistakable voice. She talked about her book that she co-wrote with her daughter, Emma & that it is Princess & Prince Week, so we are all royalty! While reading the book, it was too precious as 2 little girls (er, Princesses!) read along with Julie while they held their copy of the book. After storytime, she took questions from the audience & I was surprised alot seemed to not know how Julie got into pictures….
She was a stage actress, most famously for My Fair Lady, but also The Boy Friend & Camelot, which Walt Disney came to see in NYC & spoke to her afterwards about playing Mary Poppins. She told him she was pregnant, but he agreed to wait for her & thus, a star was born! I was excited she mentioned Camelot as my Mother, Aunt & Grandma saw her in that & met her back in 1961:)
After Julie taught us ‘The Princess Wave’ & gave a warm goodbye, I next ran over to The LA Times stage; luckily just around the corner from the Kiddy Korner. I was just in time to see another female icon hit the stage, the one & only, Betty White! She has a new book out about how important zoos are to the world & again, memory lane for me as she talked about her work for over 50 years with The LA Zoo. I went there so much growing up, & would always watch a video near the mountain lion exhibit she narrated (I believe she, oddly enough, talked about skunks), since I knew who Betty White was from watching The Golden Girls with my Grandma. She is one of the most passionate people in the spotlight discussing animal rights.
When asked if she has a favorite animal, she said anything with a leg in each corner! On her opinion of those who buy accessories for their pets, she feels that is a self-centered act for the owner, doing no good for the pet. Pet cougars, tigers, chimps? No way, she is not for that at all, go see these creatures in the zoo. An advocate for pet therapy, she would feel as if one of her best friends is coming for a visit if she were in a hospital & saw a dog (awww). Following her interview, she held a signing, where I also scored some pictures to post! She really looks phenomenal; perhaps how kind & sweet she is to those around her, & her 4 legged friends, shows on the outside.
It was such a gorgeous day. After seeing Betty, I found my way into a panel discussion about Nerds…aka, kick ass people with diverse interests & hilarious jokes! My next post will delve deeper into that adventure, stay tuned! xo
(*All photography copyrighted & taken by Along Comes Mary. Please contact her for permission BEFORE using in your own media. Thank you!)