Guest Blog by Sky Koepke - Unbound Reflections

We're very pleased to welcome a new voice to the Unbound blog - 13 year-old Sky Koepke, who is an avid reader, and by the looks of things, an excellent writer, too.


I may only be thirteen years old, but I have been enjoying book events in Columbia for years. I take something away from every event, but my favorite so far has been the Unbound Book Festival. I went last year and had many great experiences.

I would encourage anybody wanting to attend not to skip an interesting event because the target audience is adults or children. I went to many adult events with my family last year, and they were very valuable experiences.

Listening to the keynote speaker at the beginning of the Festival is also a great opportunity – you get to listen to an important speaker and be there at the start of the festival. Last year it was fascinating to watch Michael Ondaatje talk with Mark Doty about their writing.

The next day, when I attended Mark Doty’s event, I liked that I was able to hear him read his work the way he intended it to be read.  Hearing Doty read his poem, In Two Seconds, was powerful and touching. Even though I was only twelve at the time, I understood the meaning. I also understood why it was important for him to tell the truth, whether it was positive or negative.

Later that afternoon, we went to a children’s event with a group of adults. Even though Justin Roberts is a children’s author and musician, the whole group enjoyed it a lot. He taught us some of the hand motions that went along with his songs.  He also taught us the history behind his lyrics and the reason why he wrote the songs. It was a really fun end to the day and the festival.

I am looking forward to the 2017 Unbound Book Festival.  I am especially excited about listening to the Keynote Speaker, Salman Rushdie.  I started reading his books and they are really fascinating.  When I was reading the back cover of Midnight’s Children it caught my attention because I wondered how the children born at the moment of India’s independence were linked with the fate of the country.  Now that I am reading the book, I like the way that the story is told – whimsically and with many layers.

Another Unbound guest I am anticipating is Ishmael Beah.  His book A Long Way Gone:  Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, has a lot of difficult content.  It is still very valuable to me because difficult lives exist all over the world even if I do not experience or see it.  I would feel disrespectful if I were to ignore them.  I like the way Beah is so honest.  Honesty is important to me.  Reading the book is not easy, but there is an element of hope that makes me keep reading.  Having the opportunity to meet Beah and hear him speak is unique.  I want to gain a better understanding of his book and story, and attending his event at the Unbound Book Festival will help me do that.

I hope the community continues to embrace Unbound and all that it has to offer.  I know I will. You should come no matter who you are, and what you think you like.