Authors Jody Fickes, Caroline Arnold and Joan Graham at StoryFaire, Santa Barbara, April 30, 2011On a sunny Saturday two weeks ago, along with about a dozen other authors, I participated in StoryFaire, a day long celebration of books and the arts for families and children in Santa Barbara. Kids could do crafts, art projects, get free books, buy books and have them autographed, and watch performances on stage. Authors each had 12 minutes to perform on stage. The challenge was to attract and keep an audience in the free flowing outdoor venue! The key was to offer kids the chance to participate, whether in helping to tell the story (as Alexis O’Neill did when reading her book The Recess Queen), holding props (as Ann Paul did while reading her book Tortuga in Trouble) or interacting with the audience (as Erica Silverman did while reading her book Big Pumpkin.) I talked about my book Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines and invited children to come up to the stage and have their “wingspans” measured. (Most kids were red-tailed hawks.) Then I read the first two chapters of Wiggle and Waggle while two children acted out the story with my Wiggle and Waggle sock puppets. You can see a sample of my performance in this video. Enjoy!