this is an instagram of some tangible things I accumulated on Saturday.
The intangible things are innumerable.
Saturday, April 2, 2011, I attended a 1-day conference called “Focus on Children’s Literature.” I discovered it just a few days before its occurrence. Thanks to a helpful little Knoxville email list I happen to be on, I was scouring the emails’ many contents late one evening last week and happened to see this event in small little letters. My heart’s beat quickened. I raced into our studio bearing the iPad and held its screen directly in front of my dear man’s face. With pleading eyes, I asked that I be able to go at whatever cost to our wallet and our weekend plans. My darling man vehemently agreed and we proceeded to get me registered as quickly as our finger typing skills allowed.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, skipping much anticipation and dreams about what the day would hold, I abnormally awoke early, agonized over my attire and got myself to the school that was hosting it about 12 minutes early. My plan had been to get there a bit early, be able to scope the place out, settle my nerves and calmly drink my coffee until registration began. Ah, the joke was on me. My fellow attendees, I did not realize, were about 200 librarians and teachers, all eagerly anticipating Knoxville’s first children’s lit conference as well. And apparently all of them are used to getting up early and being at a school building. Who knew! Feeling a little behind already, I got myself into the building, successfully found my tiny packet of helpful info and unhappily attached the sticky nametag to myself. That’s when I spotted the book sale table being set up. And so did every other eager beaver in the room.
Thankfully, I kept my wits about me and didn’t rush to the table. I would not have survived such a daring move. Instead I maintained a safe distance and became a pro at peeking through tiny openings between varying heights, bent elbows and wide hips. In my attempts to keep this post less than a youth novel length, let’s just say I visited that book sale table 4 times throughout the day and came home with that lovely stack of books in the top right corner of above instagram. Contents are:
Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop (which I first discovered here)
All Kinds of Families! (a favorite French illustrator)
Being a Pig is Nice (author of The Jesus Storybook Bible)
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit (first discovered here)
Applesauce Season (by Caldecott illustrator and includes a recipe!)
Busing Brewster (by one of the main speakers)
The conference itself was fabulous. Jack Gantos, author of many books including the Rotten Ralph series, was the first main speaker. He’s a brilliantly hilarious man with witty stories and many surprising thoughts. He gave a great talk about what makes picture books work and he illustrated his points with about 20 famous books like Where the Wild Things Are and Ferdinand the Bull. I captured so many inspiring quotes from him and can’t wait to read more of his books. “Read more books and get smarter.”
Next up was a screening of the new documentary Library of the Early Mind which I actually posted about in anticipation here last June. Co-producer Steven Withrow was there to talk about it and he was amazingly insightful and had a passion for children’s literature that was extremely contagious.
Skipping details about lunch, we went back into a panel discussion about the film and children’s literature with Jack Gantos, Steven Withrow, and the last speaker, Richard Michelson. They covered many thoughts and also ruminated on the well-known NY Times article about the demise of the picture book. Upon mention of said article, I’m pretty sure I felt the entire room suck in their breath. My feelings on this topic are another post including a very large soapbox.
Finally, the event was closed with another great talk by author Richard Michelson about his childhood, ventures with his art galleries and career in authoring picture books.
After the event, there were author signings, more book buyings and a near purchase of an awesome poster by Mo Willems from R. Michelson’s gallery, but some sneaky librarian woman hooked it first.
I have many more thoughts about this awesome conference, but those are for myself, one-on-one conversations and a much bigger story. Here lies my documentation of the event for myself and anyone else who may be interested. I proceed to again and again thank my sweet husband for allowing me to spend the entire day dreaming, thinking and spending money on my beloved passion of children’s books. I also wish to thank the CCYAL for putting on this event and hope to keep posted of more things they offer.
Until further posts on the subject, I’ve begun to again count my pennies and save up for the annual Children’s Festival of Reading! Hoorah!!