This is the big weekend of the Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland, Oregon. Since I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to Oregon this weekend, some bloggers in the Columbus area decided to show our support for this conference by gathering together in the area to talk about our lives, books, and blogs.
At last count, there are currently eleven bloggers that we are aware of in the Columbus area (if there are more, please let us know so that we can include you in our next get together!). Of those eleven, seven of us were able to attend the get-together.
We started at NorthStar Cafe, one of our favorite eating places, for breakfast. As you look at the picture, going around the table from bottom left to bottom right, are Franki from A Year of Reading; me; Megan (all the way from Dayton) from Read, Read, Read; Bill, my blogging partner here at Literate Lives; Mary Lee from A Year of Reading; and Stella from My World - Mi Mundo. Through a miscommunication from yours truly, Kristine from Best Book I Have Not Read was sitting at the NorthStar Cafe in another part of town. Luckily, we did meet her when we went to our next stop!
If you look carefully at the picture, you will see that we supported the Portland conference by buying some of the t-shirts and coffee mugs that were offered.
What you don't can't see in the picture are all the conversations we had as we either caught up with each other's lives or got to know new blogging friends!
After a delicious breakfast, we headed south on High Street to our second gathering spot -- our favorite independent children's bookstore -- Cover to Cover.
At Cover to Cover, we finally connected with Kristine (all the way from Granville and in the green in the picture below). Also, the owner, Sally Oddi, had gathered some ARCs for us to browse through. I was able to get Wendy Mass's (Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life) newest book, 11 Birthdays. It is due out in January 2009. Being a huge fan of Jeremy Fink, I was more than a little excited about this find!
While at the store, we wandered around and browsed, calling out to each other great finds and encouraging each other to "take a look at this one!", or handing someone a book and saying, "what do you think?" We all started to gather our piles and gravitate toward the story steps in the back of the store to winnow out the best choices we had made and needed to purchase today. You know what I mean -- those "I've got to have it!" books.
So, was this just a day for meeting for breakfast and buying books? I don't think so. For me, it's far more than that. The Friday night before our little Columbus get-together, my husband and I went out with friends to play golf and have dinner. While we were at dinner, we started talking about what everyone had planned for Saturday, and I shared that I was meeting some blogger friends in the morning. They weren't sure what blogging was, so I went on to explain that my blogger friends are people who love children's books and then like to write reviews of books they read, and also read reviews that other bloggers write. The man was a little incredulous. I even explained how, since we couldn't make it to Portland, that we were having a mini-kidlit blogging meeting here. I think what really threw him was that I gave the gathering a name -- kidlitosphere conference.
What I realized from this encounter is that trying to explain why I love to read kidlit blogs, and why I so enjoy sharing a blog with Bill, is almost impossible to someone who doesn't have that mind set. I'm okay with that. Even my husband, who's incredibly supportive of me as a teacher and a blogger, doesn't really understand why it's so meaningful to me.
I feel so fortunate to share this passion for children's books with all other kidlit bloggers and all the people who stop in to read what we write!! I am passionate about getting good books into kids' hands on a daily basis, and I feel so very fortunate to have found a place where others feel the same. Together, we all form a community -- bloggers, blog readers, authors, and the children who read the books. It is a community in which I am proud to be a part!!
Thanks to the organizers of the kidlitosphere conference in Portland, and to all the Columbus bloggers who energize me through your blogs on a regular basis!