I’m still buzzing from attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley a couple of weekends ago. It was my first time exhibiting my books at the event. It was delightful meeting and being in the company of other authors and illustrators and seeing their beautiful creations on display at their tables.
But the biggest highlight for me was meeting new readers from different age groups—supporting my children’s books and novels. As a writer and illustrator, nothing swells my heart more than when I get to see toddlers pointing at my children’s books, saying “Daddy, I want that book!” or “Mommy, look!” or the adults, glancing at one of my novel book covers, then stopping at my table to pick it up and take a closer look—some of them even saying, “Oh my God! This is my story!” or “This is so me!”
As writers, we spend a lot of time writing our stories alone—in dim rooms, dark attics, or quiet libraries, bustling coffee shops, or in trains and buses—or wherever we can and choose to write. Witnessing readers flipping through the pages of our books or reading the back synopsis and watching their faces light up, because they feel a connection to our words and our stories, is one of the biggest rewards. Because after all the endless hours that we’ve spent writing and editing these manuscripts or illustrating and writing children’s books—somehow, it means we have done something right.
I sold out on a few of my books at the event, which was amazing. I left the two-day event grateful for the experience and completely motivated and inspired to dive into new projects. After all, this is what I’ve always wanted to do: Create art and share it.