Sunday, March 1, 2009

McConnell Center for Children's Literature Conference

I just got back from Lexington and the University of Kentucky's McConnell Center for Children’s Literature Conference. And I had so much fun. My fellow speakers were Gary Schmidt, E.B. Lewis and my friend and boss, Chris Crutcher. It was such a fantastic gathering of librarians and library students. Dr. Stephanie Reynolds is a remarkable expert and she ran a brilliant event. I am so proud to have been included.
Gary Schmidt was the dinner banquet speaker and his comments were so moving and so wise. He teaches at a University in Grand Rapids, Michigan in addtion to being a Newbery and Prince Honor winning author. And I feel honored to have spent time with him.

Illustrator and fine artist E.B. Lewis was the breakfast speaker and he was so amazing. I have loved his work for years and years, and I even got to him dinner with him (and Stephanie and Chris) after the conference concluded. He's funny, compassionate and thoughtful, in addition to being a gifted painter. I hope to write about him soon.

Chris was the luncheon keynote, but just barely. He had to be in Missouri Friday, then fly to Kentucky Saturday morning for his presentation at noon. It was hit or miss, but he made it. And he was sensational. He always is.

Beyond my fellow speakers, there were such wonderful librarians -- working professionals and students. So many attended my workshops, and they seemed to share my passion for helping kids find just the books they need to grow confident in their reading and writing. What a treat it was to be part of this conference.

Thanks, Stephanie, for including me. Thanks Lexington librarians for making me feel so welcome.

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