This weekend was the long-anticipated Decatur Book Festival. I’d been blogging about the festival for some weeks and, as man of you know, I was looking pretty forward to it. Two crazy days and 25 Children’s author events later, I can honestly say all that hype did not disappoint.
For me the coolest part about working at the Children’s tent was being introduced to so many brilliant new-to-me authors. I don’t have children and I’m not around kids a whole lot so before this weekend I didn’t have any opportunity/reason to read children’s literature. Which is crazy, because after this weekend I’m convinced that children’s literature is not just for kids. Everybody can appreciate the artwork, the clever rhymes, the joy in the telling, the morals and the often very deep nuggets of wisdom that are encased in each picture book.
Today I wanted to share with you one of my new favorite books. Pete the Cat – I Love My White Shoes was a publishing phenomenon. Originally self-published by Atlanta story-teller Eric Litwin and local artist James Dean, the book became an instant hit and was eventually picked up by HarperCollins. Last week Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Rocking My School Shoeswere number 1 and 2 on the NY Times Bestseller List.
Since Eric and James got their start right here in Atlanta, you can imagine they were a huge hit at the festival. Seriously, there were over 500 people packed into the Children’s Tent (which had a max capacity of 300!) and everyone, parents and children, were jamming to Eric’s songs. Boy did they put on a show! Eric played guitar and harmonica in perfect Bob Dylan fashion and got the crowd joining in with the appropriate call-backs, claps, tickles and caffeinated shaking. Meanwhile, Dean, decked out in phosphorescent blue shoes, painted Pete the Cat on stage. I could go on and on about all the love that was in that tent, about what decent men Eric and James are, and about what an important message Pete the Cat has to tell, but you might accuse me of gushing. So instead I’ll just let you watch the video and come to your own conclusion. And then go buy the book.