I've a reputation for being relentlessly optimistic. Annoyingly so, I've been told. I have to admit, this doesn't bode well to me.
Should the Fair disappear, it will be a big loss to the Connecticut children's literature community. This thing brought nationally recognized writers and illustrators into the state. Yes, Storrs is somewhat remote. Nonetheless, many years ago I was told the Fair attracted a couple of thousand people over its weekend. Plus, the eastern part of Connecticut where Storrs is located is the part where people like Meryl Streep don't live. Not many New York City folks have second homes there. This number of children's literature professionals don't show up in that part of the state in a forty-eight hour period, because there aren't towns large enough to support the kinds of bookstores that can bring them in. Actually, I'm not aware of them showing up in those numbers in any part of Connecticut.
Oh, and this is a free event.
Additionally, in the past, the Fair was a fundraiser for UConn's Northeast Children's Literature Collection, the largest children's literature archive in the northeastern United States. I don't know if that's still the case. The Fair website is vague on that subject.
So as part of my obsession with this issue, I've spent the month tweeting links to all my Original Content posts about my visits to the Fair. Following is a round-up of them, so you can enjoy connecting with all these authors with me. If the Fair disappears without a whimper next year, we will have had one last hurrah.
Some Of Those Who Were There With Susan Hood, Sandra Horning, and Brenna Burns Yu
Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson
My One Hour Tour with Tui T. Sutherland, Jonathan Bean, Aaron Becker, Ann M. Martin, David Johnson, Phoebe Stone
Good Times with Pegi Deitz Shea, P.W. Catanese, Leslea Newman, Mark Tyler Nobleman, Janet Lawler, and me. I ate dinner at a table next to Lois Lowry, by the way.
1999 or so
I attended the Fair even earlier with one of my sons. This was in the days when it was held in a different part of campus and you could walk to the Dairy Barn for ice cream. Which we did. We bought a signed book, too.
I also visited a year when James Howe was there. Whenever that was. Someone else has the signed book I bought then.