Wordstock 2011: The Book Is Not Dead!

On Friday I got an invitation to go to Wordstock Portland from Krista at Mostly Mommyhood. She’d heard from James at Stay at Home Dad PDX via Twitter that I might be interested. (Thank you, social media!)

Suddenly I had a press pass and was headed to Knowledge Universe’s children’s stage to sit on a wicker bubble and listen to story time by local authors.

Wordstock, as one attendee described it, is “book heaven,” celebrating American stories, writers, and publishing.


I am a bibliophile. I grew up trading in my books at Powell’s for new books. They would say something like, “You can have $16 in cash or $25 in trade.” What moron would take the cash?

Books were what I wanted. Books! [Tapping my forearm.] Give me the books.

And Wordstock is the festival for people who love books. Or should I say love reading, because people keep predicting the demise of the publishing industry and the physical book.

At the end of children’s story time with Carmen Bernier-Grand, Lynn Connor, and Eric A. Kimmel, a listener asked the authors, “People are worried that kids are reading mostly on phones and tablets. What do you think of that?”

Kimmel jumped in, “What are you worried about? If your book is in print then who cares? If it’s a book and someone’s reading it, I’m happy.”

The cool thing about software, the iPad, the Kindle, and the Internet, is that all of us can publish. We can write, illustrate, and put our books online. We can order small batch printings of our books and we can drum up audiences on our own.

(My favorite new self-published author is Hannah Holt at Lightbulb Books. Check her out!)

Suddenly writing and publishing is accessible, which Wordstock proved. Small publishers, local authors, and writers’ collectives were bursting out the seams.

So–as we bloggers know–these newfangled technologies don’t spell disaster for those of us who love to read and write. I know plenty of moms who write and dads who review books and kids who love their books and their parents’ iPhones.

Families are still reading. A lot.


Writing in the Pacific Northwest? Here are a few great resources for local literati…

And a few literacy tips for toddlers from your friendly librarian Kate.

  • Have books around the house at toddler level.
  • Play off your kids’ interests when choosing books. Balls? Trains? Great!
  • Set up a reading routine sometime during the day, and don’t worry if you only get through one page.
  • Kids don’t have to be perfect during reading time at home or at the library. Kate just asks that they are as still as they can be, which we all know is not very still.

6 responses to “Wordstock 2011: The Book Is Not Dead!

  1. I love Wordstock! I went a few years ago and got my book signed by a favorite author of mine. I was a babbling fool, but the great thing is that the environment there is very down-to-earth and not hoity toity at all. Great teacher workshops too!

  2. Thanks for the plug. 🙂 Wordstock sounds like soooooo much fun!

  3. I usually go every year, but did not make it this year. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. I need to go to this 😀

  5. Oh man. Wordstock sounds like something no self-respecting librarian should miss. I want to go to there.

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