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by Annelouise Mahoney

Saturday morning booth exhibitors (l-r) Glenda Armand, R.S. Mellette, Annelouise Mahoney, and Janie Emaus get a thumbs-up from SCBWI-L.A. volunteer Jennifer Pitts (r) as they all prepare to greet festival-goers.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is an annual tradition of literary wonder. It’s the Coachella of book festivals, the largest in the country.

This year, as they do each year, the SCBWI Los Angeles chapter extended an invitation for its PAL members to sell and sign their books at a festival booth. SCBWI SoCal joined the L.A. chapter at the festival for the first time ever, sharing Booth #826. PAL members of the two regions who signed up could choose a two or three-hour time slot for either Saturday or Sunday of the event.

Authors Caroline L. Perry (l) and Molly Ruttan (r) were kitted out for Saturday afternoon fun.

I chose Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and sat between authors Glenda Armand and Janie Emaus, who shared lots of fun insights into their own book journeys. The booth is run by dedicated volunteers who love books and SCBWI so much that they donate their time on the busy weekend. Jennifer Pitts was on hand when I arrived and offered her keen eye and talent setting up and adjusting our displays to look as sharp as possible.

There was a steady stream of people who stopped to browse our books, make purchases, or just say hello, including my friend Molly Ruttan who was set to sign books from 3 p.m.–6 p.m. that afternoon. As part of her booth display, she brought a hanging mobile of images from her most recent picture book. Other participants helped personalize the booth with colorful flyers, signs and standees, or themed plushies. On Saturday afternoon, two of author Caroline L. Perry’s children took turns dressing up in an inflatable Corgi costume, drawing many eyes and visitors to the booth. Complementing all and giving a polished finish were the presenting chapters’ freshly branded tablecloths and booth banners.

Representing L.A.’s sister region—and marking the SoCal chapter’s debut at the festival booth—are (l-r) authors Heather Buchta, Tina Athaide, and C.K. Malone

There is a lot to love about participating in an event like this, mostly the shared experience of book love from those who stopped by to browse our books, and the tips and encouragement from other authors. I left Booth #826 feeling supported and inspired. Thank you SCBWI, and thank you L.A. Times Festival of Books! 

Booth #826—the site of many fine bookish conversations over the festival weekend.

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Annelouise Mahoney is an author/illustrator. Her debut book is Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night. Before jumping into children’s books she worked in TV animation, painting backgrounds for studios such as Dreamworks, DIC Animation, and Sony Television. She lives in Southern California with her family. Learn more about her at www.AnnelouiseMahoney.com.

Corgi photo courtesy of Caroline L. Perry.
All other photos by Molly Ruttan.