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John Green-ing, Origami Yoda-ing, and Other LA TIMES Book Fest Adventures

Fromvisiting Kent Stateto returning to USC.

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It began with the drive down freeway. Most people would have been worried about parking, but I wasn't worried because I had these . . .

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Yes! Coveted valet parking passes to theLOS ANGELES TIME FESTIVAL OF BOOKS!!!!

This is the second year it's taken place at my alma mater, theUniversity of Southern California. . .

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I had five book signings over two days.

Before our (meaning me and my Peep) first one, we met this year'sPrintzwinner,John Corey Whaleyauthor of WHERE THINGS COME BACK . . .

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Oh, look! It'sD.J. MacHaleof PENDRAGON fame . . .

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(That's Australian authorTristan Banckslooking on.)

Soon it was time to sign withDan Santat, illustrator of myBOBBY books, atOnce Upon a Time'sbooth . . .

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And look!Priscilla BurrisandBrian Jameswere there, too . . .

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After, Dan and I wandered around and ran intoBetty Birney, who was signing next to uber authorJohn Green. . .

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Hey! Hay! Hey! (I spelled one of those words wrong to see if you were paying attention.) What do John, Dan and I have in common?

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Here's a hint:

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That's right! We are all represented byJodi Reamer, agent, lawyer, blackbelt. (That's Jodi in the tree.)

Last year, I was on the Target Stage . . .

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This year, I was there to cheer on friends. In the Green Room (that's what they call backstage, even though it isn't green), we ran intoTom Anglebergerand his publicistJason Wellsarguing over how to cut the paper to make Origami Yodas . . .

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Then, who should wander in, but NERDs authorMichael Buckley. Sadly, he misbehaved, too . . .

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I will add though, that Michael was very nice toFatima Ptacek, who voices Dora the Explorer! (She was a HUGE fan of his.)

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Peepywas still a bit shaken, not knowing if Michael was serious or not, but luckilyJames Burkswas there to console her. Later,Ken Min(left) and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy creatorBob Boyle(right) joined us to watch James onstage . . .

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Later, Dan and I also signed at theDiesel/Scholasticbooth . . .

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While we were there, we contributed to an ongoing story for826LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring center . . .

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Then Peepy and I headed over to the USC Civic Engagement booth. It was near the YA Stage . . .

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USC Civic Engagementpartners with residents and civic leaders and initiates programs like this year'sbook drivewhich brought in over 8,260 books to be distributed among local schools.

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Dozens of my books were given out for free to kids attending the book fest . . .

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What a wonderful day! Stay tuned for the next blog, where we meet more famous authors at the LA TIMES Festival of Books, includingthis year'sNewbery winner.

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Um. That's not the Newbery winner, above. That's Peepy's new friend.

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