Reading with the Stars at the Festival of Books
What could be better than opening a great new book and reading it for the first time? Having the author read the book to you, answer your questions, and sign your copy of the book afterward!
Thousands of lucky kids who attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books were treated to a great time with some of their favorite book-writing celebrities. Special guests included Sabrina Bryan of the Cheetah Girls and Dancing with the Stars, Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa on The Simpsons, actress Brooke Shields, and basketball star Alonzo Mourning. And lucky me — I was in the audience to bring you this report!
After reading a chapter from their book, Sabrina and her co-author Julia DeVillers told fans that their YA novel Princess of Gossip was inspired by blog writers who created stories about the Cheetah Girls online. So they made their character, Avery, a young blogger from the Midwest who gets to go to parties and fun events in Hollywood.
“I always thought it would be fun to write a book. I had the chance to do some writing on songs with the Cheetah Girls, and it was a dream come true that it was actually possible to become an author,” said Sabrina, who loved brainstorming ideas and writing the book with Julia. In fact, she loved it so much that she's thinking about writing a second book. “I want to write about being a dancer next time. I love to dance.”
What else did Sabrina reveal to the audience during her reading? You'll just have to watch our live footage to find out:
Later, Sabrina told THE STACKS that she has always loved to read. Even though she loves visual entertainment like movies, “Reading allows you to make up in your head what characters look like. To be able to read and create my own pictures is what I love about it.”
To hear more of what Sabrina had to say, check out our exclusive backstage video:
Yeardley Smith also told the audience about her love for books. “You get to step into somebody else's world and get to know them and care about them and imagine what it is they're doing,” she said, after admitting to fans that although she loved when her mom read Goodnight, Moon or Dr. Seuss to her, she wasn't a big reader at first and found it slow going in school. “But if you gave me a great story like The Secret Garden or the Judy Blume books, I was all over it. I could finish it in two days.”
Yeardley read aloud a chapter from her first novel I, Lorelai. “It's about an 11-year-old girl named Lorelai, her home life and her school life. She's really funny, very resilient. She is what I wish I had been at 11. She's much more courageous and optimistic, the sort of Every Girl that all of us would want to be friends with. She's able to tell it like it is because it's her diary. She doesn't ever have to worry about what other people will think.”
It took her almost two years to write it, and now there's a sequel in the works. “I'm hoping it won't take me quite as long,” said Yeardley, who usually reads aloud to a quieter and smaller audience. “I read to my cats,” she told us. “They're kind of soothed by it.” Purr-fect!
Have you read either Princess of Gossip or I, Lorelai? If so, leave a comment with your review!
— Gerri Miller, for the Ink Splot 26 Celeb Beat