Someone just sent me a photo of the awesomest panel discussion I’ve ever had the honor of participating in, along with Sonia Manzano (aka Maria from Sesame Street), Newbery Award winner (for The One and Only Ivan) Katherine Applegate, and fantastic moderator/MG author Nan Marino (Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace).
You’re going to have to take my word for it that it was awesome, because the photo makes it look like Sonia’s angry, Katherine’s nodding off, and I’m staring down a heckler just offstage:
I’m not exactly sure what made this particular panel (at last week’s Brooklyn Book Festival) so much awesomer than the usual.
It may have been the inspirational quality of Sonia’s story–both how she got her start as a writer on Sesame Street and what led her to create the fascinating and moving The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, set in Spanish Harlem in 1969.
It might also have been Nan’s uncanny ability to pose questions that alternately evoked thoughtful answers and provided the perfect setup to punch lines.
Or it could have been Katherine’s willingness, within five minutes of meeting me, to make fun of my bad parenting skills in front of a large group of strangers.
In any case, it was fantastic. If you were there, thanks for coming! If you missed it, please contact your local book festival and demand that they book the four of us. Katherine’s up for it, too:
— Katherine Applegate (@kaaauthor) September 24, 2013
And a special thanks to outstanding Penguin publicist Marisa Russell, who not only managed to convince the Brooklyn Book Festival people that I belonged in such esteemed company, but also took the following (and much less angry/sleepy/heckled-looking) shot of the four of us post-panel:
ETA: Click here for Nan’s take on the event, which is full of both A) applied math and B) surprises. (Nan: you were a pro! I never once got the sense that you were thinking about making a run for it. Although, now that I think of it, that would have made the whole thing EVEN MORE memorable.)