An unprecedented 112 authors, poets and illustrators spoke and met with their readers at the 2011 National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress. An estimated 200,000 gathered on the National Mall for the first-ever two-day festival. The event held Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 offered more authors and activities for young readers than ever before. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the first lady, were the honorary chairs of the event. The distinguished benefactor of the event, David M. Rubenstein, co-chaired the National Book Festival Board with Dr. James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. The Alabama Center for the Book was represented at the Pavilion of the States tent. Posters, bookmarks and brochures providing information about our state’s writers and the Alabama Center for the Book were given to thousands of young people and their parents. Each state along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories was represented. In addition, a poplar pavilion feature was “Discover Great Places Through Reading”. A free map of the United States was presented at each table for an appropriate state sticker or stamp. A reading list of 52 books for young people with recommendations from each state was located on the back of the map. Alabama’s selection this year was To Kill a Mockingbird. Youngsters and adults alike were thrilled to receive a bright shinny silver sticker with a picture of a mockingbird.