Long, long ago, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a child named Hans.
Hans was one of those special children who saw wonder in everything that surrounded him.
All he had to do was envision a bird soaring through a sunset; and when he did, he felt as though he himself had become the bird, soaring through that same sunset. In this, he could literally feel the wind moving between his feathers, lifting him to new heights as he explored the heavens.
Hans could experience the smell of a single rose in a way that made his heart feel light.
It made him giggle and feel all tingly inside when he squished his toes into the sand on the beach near his village.
When the storms came, and the waves crashed against the beach, he became the warrior fighting off destructive beasts. His jaw clenched, and his brows furrowed as he yielded his sword and walked fearlessly into danger.
Now, when Han’s mother first put a book from the village library into his hands, I’m sure that you can imagine exactly what happened.
Yes, that’s right-
As he read, his imagination far exceeded the physical boundaries that he had known only moments before. Suddenly the pages became much more than mere paper. Hans found himself leaping from page to page, climbing the tallest mountain, sailing across the deepest sea, fighting the fiercest battles, taming the wildest dragons, and meeting the most enchanted beings from far away lands.
Before long, Hans had read every book in the village library.
His heart longed for more adventures and his mind craved more information.
Hans would ask anyone and everyone who came to the village if they had a new book that he could read.
Then years passed. Without books to read, Han’s heart grew heavy and his mind turned foggy.
Then one day, Hans could no longer feel himself flying as a bird through a sunset.
The smell of a rose no longer made his heart feel light. The sand on the beach only felt cold and wet, and the destructive beasts ran amuck through the storms and crashing waves. Hans had lost his wonder and the world seemed lonely and gray.
“What has happened?” Han’s mother asked, “Why have you lost your wonder?” Hans could not answer the question, try as he might.
Why had he lost his wonder?
Hans pondered on the question for months; and as he did, he felt drawn to revisit the books from the village library. But this time, he wasn’t looking for adventure, or battles or wild beasts to tame, or even enchanted beings from faraway lands.
This time, he was looking for the authors. He wanted to know who they were, where they were from, and what they felt as they wrote.
He needed to meet them—to shake their hand and to thank them for teaching him to laugh, for delighting him with magical worlds, and for bringing him knowledge and guidance that had filled his soul with joy.
But where could he go to do this?!
Not many months hence, Hans saw a poster hanging in the village library.
The poster read of an epic event that was coming to his village—AUTHOR-CON: A CELEBRATION OF LITERATURE FOR ALL!
Somehow Hans knew that the answers he sought could be found at this event. He saved his money, bought a family ticket, and enthusiastically waited for the day of the event to arrive. As he waited, Hans watched the AUTHOR-CON website. There he found featured authors, bios, coming attractions, and schedules.
The morning of the long-anticipated day arrived at last!
Adorned in his favorite author costume, Hans entered the event venue with his family.
His heart leaped within his chest as he excitedly scoped the place out. Soon he had found the authors and where they were speaking, as well as all of the exciting vendors to visit and learn from.
Hans helped his parents get his siblings situated doing fun and interesting activities in the Discovery Corner. So interesting, that he actually considered signing up for an activity himself—maybe after his favorite authors had spoken.
Hans heard his name being called and turned to wave at his friends. Together they walked past many attractions before getting seated at the stage.
Leaning forward in his seat, Hans eagerly listened to the storytelling of one author and then the journey tales of another.
Somehow he had thought that writers were just born with talent; but he found that authors had to work hard to get where they were.
Hans had thought of authors as celebrities who were untouchable; but hearing them share their journeys somehow made the authors feel approachable, their stories seem authentic, and their achievements attainable.
Suddenly Han’s mind was churning.
Did he himself have a story to tell?
Could he actually become an author himself one day?
The questions seemed to probe his heart, stirring many more questions to the surface.
It wasn’t long before Hans got to ask those questions before a panel of author experts. The answers he received were enlightening! He enjoyed learning about helpful tools and resources.
It was comforting—even exhilarating—to speak with the authors and to express his deep gratitude for their works.
Being surrounded by readers and writers all eager to share their talents and support one another was truly inspiring!
Hans and his friends walked through the vendor booths during their break.
The books were irresistible after feeling a personal connection and listening to the life stories of the authors who wrote them.
It was exciting to stand so close to the authors as they autographed the books that he and his friends had purchased!
At the close of the event, as Hans left his friends and met back up with his family, he felt invigorated; and knew that his investment had been well worth his time.
This event had been filled with opportunities, and he felt grateful for the experience. Whether it was learning new skills or just finding a good book to read, everyone was clearly able to show their love for and to join in on this CELEBRATION OF LITERATURE FOR ALL!
Many years later, Hans himself was speaking on the stage at an AUTHOR-CON event.
And as he did, he felt that he had come full circle:
We are all first readers…but at some point in time a reader’s heart is changed through an author’s words…and then the reader desires to express his deep gratitude for those changes to the author…and in that, a spark is ignited…and a journey begins.