Last night, 826DC, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, hosted “An Evening with Washington Journalists and Their Favorite Children’s Books” at Bobby Van’s Grill. Big names in DC media – CNN’s Dana Bash, POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush, SiriusXM’s Julie Mason, Yahoo’s Garance Franke-Ruta and WaPo’s Helena Andrews – sat before a crowd of adults reading their favorite children’s book. Thrilling, right?
Here’s how it went down…
5:45 – Arrive early, and I’m starving! Alas, 15 minutes until any food is presumably brought out.
6:00 – CNN’s Lauren Pratapas arrives just before food is brought out. Food or Lauren? To avoid being rude, I hold court with her for 10 minutes.
6:10 – Abruptly end conversation with Lauren in order to get a snack. Great spread of apps including – no joke – the best nachos I’ve ever had. You know how there’s always some chips without melted cheese? Ya, that’s not the case with these. Best. Nachos. Ever.
6:15 – Room is fairly full with 40 or so media and PR people. Also, FYI: tickets for the event were cleverly priced at $82.60, a play off of the organization’s name. I immediately start thinking of creating my own organization named 1500 or 10,000.
6:19 – I found Waldo!
6:20 – Order a sauvignon blanc from one of the best bartenders in DC. For those who’ve been to Bobby Vans Grill, you know who she is. BTW – my glass of wine is actually a goblet with the contents of two glasses in it. Not complaining…
6:26 – Contemplate going outside for a smoke break. Probably not appropriate at a child-focused event.
6:30 – Introduce myself to CNN’s Dana Bash and Sirius XM’s Julie Mason. Ask what they’re reading and then ask why they didn’t choose The Hunger Games. Conversation abruptly ends.
6:45 – Yahoo’s Garance Franke-Ruta was introduced as a writer for The Atlantic and Julie Mason as Dana Bash.
6:47 – Journos read excerpts from their favorite books. Here’s what they chose:
Garance Franke-Ruta – 1863’s thrilling The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby
Helena Andrews – The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl
Dana Bash – Yertle The Turtle, by Dr. Seuss
Julie Mason – Der Struwwelpeter
Glenn Thrush – A Snowy Day
Of all the books that were read, Fishbowl’s fav was Garance’s The Water-Babies. It’s the story of a young chimney sweep “who falls into a river after encountering an upper-class girl named Ellie and being chased out of her house. There he drowns and is transformed into a ‘water baby’.” Because who doesn’t want to read this to their kid?
7:15 – Formalities over, crowd dispersing. I contemplate staying for one more glass of wine, but decide to be responsible -for once! -and depart instead.