The Queen of the National Book Festival

It’s been said that pride often goes before a fall. It’s true. And sometimes, even if you’re a 65-year-old writer, that humbling tumble can come from a book-devouring 11-year-old, with hair the color of a fresh-from-the-garden carrot and a beaming smile that could brighten even the darkest defeat.

But I’m ahead of myself. Here’s how my abrupt ego deflation actually came about.

Earlier this month, my wife Judy and I volunteered to work at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC., an annual event sponsored by The Library of Congress.

The celebration of books and writing was initiated by then-First Lady Laura Bush in 2001 and has been held every year since. The festival attracts more than 100,000 book enthusiasts, avid literary lovers who come to hear writers’ talks and get books signed by their favorite authors. There are also hallways of reading-related exhibits, book-based games and characters for young readers, and literary swag for all who attend.

We had been coming to the event since we moved to the DC area six years ago, but this year we decided to give back to the festival by volunteering. As you might imagine, it takes a lot of volunteers to run such a large event. In fact, we were part of a group of more than 1,000 helpers who braved a steady Saturday rain to work at the huge Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

To keep reading this article which first appeared in Booming Encore, click here.

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