NORMAN — Hundreds of children sat inside Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday with their families listening to the stories of their favorite authors and cartoonists.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author and illustrator Jeff Kinney helped organize the event, “Drawn Together: Cartoonists Benefit Moore Oklahoma School Libraries”, and around 1,500 people attended.
“There were people lined up almost out to the street before we opened the doors,” said Christian Potts, public information officer for the Pioneer Library System.
Potts said all of the proceeds sold Saturday will go directly to the Moore Public Schools Foundation for school libraries.
“I’ll never forget this moment in my life,” said Ashton Key, 9, a Briarwood Elementary student who attended with her grandmother, Mickie. “He (Kinney) is my favorite author.”
Key said her favorite part was getting to see Kinney and getting to personally ask him a question. She asked Kinney how he got his ideas, giggling as she said he told her he sits under a blanket and thinks.
Kinney told the audience Saturday that after seeing all of the coverage of the storms that hit the Oklahoma area he was brushing his teeth one day and decided he wanted to do something to help. He called up three of his friends and fellow authors who joined him for the event.
Authors Dav Pilkey, of the “Captain Underpants” series, Lincoln Pierce, of the “Big Nate” series, and Stephan Pastis, of the “Timmy Failure” series also drew people in from the rainy weather.
Reid Dorman, 4, of Lindsay said his favorite part of the event was seeing the guy that writes “Big Nate”. Dorman’s mom said the library is his favorite place.
“I like to go to the library,” Dorman said. “I like the kid’s books.”
Each of the authors talked about how they became cartoonists and how they have developed their internationally-known work. Kinney said his series, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” started out as a book for grown-ups to remind them what it was like to be a kid.
“I became a children’s author on accident,” he said.
Kinney also gave the audience a sneak preview on a new book in the series, “Hard Luck”. Living in a small town isn’t something that inhibits his work either, he said. He told the audience if you think you have a good idea you should take your time with it, nurture it and develop it because you can do really great, creative things from anywhere.
James Ryan and daughter Spirit, 11, of Goldsby said they really enjoyed hearing what each of the authors had to say and what experiences they’ve had.
“It’s a good cause; it was well worth it,” James Ryan said.
Kinney said today has been one of the coolest days for him because he got to do something meaningful.
“Kinney got the ball rolling,” Potts said, adding that a lot of people saw what happened with the Oklahoma storms and they may have said they wanted to help, but Kinney actually made it happen.
With tickets $10 per person and about 1,500 or more people attending, he said that is already going to be $15,000. Plus all proceeds from the merchandise purchased is going directly to the foundation as well.
“It’s going to be a really nice boost for the foundation to get some stuff to do for the schools,” Potts said.
The event was sponsored by the Metropolitan Library, the Pioneer Library, Universal Uclick, GoComics, Scholastic Books, Abrams Books, HarperCollins Publishers and Candlewick Press.