Monday, October 19, 2009

Final Thoughts About KidLit Con

I'm so glad I went to Washington, D.C. for the KidLit Conference this past weekend. Like Bill, I will summarize the highlights for me.

The Library of Congress tour -- I only did the second part which involved spending time in the Children's Section as well as the rare book section. Looking at how children's books have changed over time was truly amazing.

The different panels of bloggers sharing information on Saturday -- So many great ideas were presented. Our good friend, Mary Lee from A Year of Reading, was on one of the first panels we heard (ML is on the far right). She was part of a panel with Melissa Fox (Book Nut), Jennie Rothschild (BiblioFile), and Tricia Stohr-Hunt (The Miss Rumphius Effect). Their particular panel made me think about participating more in Poetry Friday round-ups and Carnival of Children's Literature on a monthly basis. These seem like doable goals for me.

The attorney from the Federal Trade Commission -- She had much good information, but I can rest easier knowing that Bill and I receive very few review copies from authors or publishers, and when we do, we have been good about declaring where it came from. Whew!

Lunch -- Our group braved the rain, and went across the street from our hotel to Crystal City to eat. Our numbers were too large to all fit at one table. I got some great conversation time with Greg Pincus (GottaBook) and Tricia (Miss Rumphius).

Chatting with authors after lunch -- Such a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with authors. I spent time talking with Laurel Snyder. Bill was seriously drooling over one of her books, The Slidy Diner, as a book to read in his "pit". Then, there's the incredibly lovely Sara Lewis Holmes, whose latest book, Operation Yes, is now autographed and in my possession. (And as a side note, she wears the prettiest sweaters!) I also met Joan Holub of Knuckleheads and Groundhog Weather School. I got a mock-up of the latter, but can't wait to receive my actual bound copy. Jacqueline Jules who wrote Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation, was there as well. The best part about this is that Unite or Die was nominated in the nonfiction/informational picture book category of the Cybils. Since I am a panelist for this category, I was delighted when Jacqueline gave me my own autographed copy at dinner. I can still be impartial, but I am so grateful for one less book to have to find on my own. Thanks Jacqueline!

After all the author excitement, it was so interesting to hear Greg Pincus (GottaBook) speak. He brought to the front and center how important connections and relationships are to us as bloggers. His story about "being found" is fascinating, and I won't ruin it for him because he has quite the nifty Power Point to go along with the story. He's funny, witty, and reminds all of us to thank people, notice them, and take part in this kidlit world. It all comes back to connections and relationships. I could only think on a small scale of how true that is here in Central Ohio. Without the gentle prodding of Franki (A Year of Reading), and the patient tutelage of Mary Lee (A Year of Reading), I know Bill and I wouldn't even have begun a blog of our own.

Dinner was great, and I will just ditto everything Bill said.

After dinner, we finally managed to have some conversation time with Jen Robinson (Jen Robinson's Book Page) and I coerced her husband into taking a picture of the three of us. Jen is someone I read and follow avidly so it was a delight to finally meet her and chat with her in person.

Sunday -- 7 hours in the car with Bill, my blog partner, reflecting on all we had learned and processing the conference. OK, we talked about other things as well, but that time spent together allowed us to bring some focus to where we want to see Literate Lives going in the near future.

Great weekend for me, thinking and learning, coupled with the opportunity to spend much time with my oldest daughter. The only thing that didn't cooperate was the weather.

Thanks to Pam Coughlan (MotherReader) for organizing such a wonderful event!!


  1. Nice meeting both of you... and glad to see you made it back to Ohio safe and sound (talking kidlit all the way?).

    It was great putting faces to names, and I agree with the big hat tip to Pam for putting the shindig together. That's a lotta work!

  2. It was definitely more fun with people there that I knew! Thanks for coming, and I'm glad it was worthwhile for both of you!

  3. It was great meeting both of you; and I wish we had longer than a weekend to hang out and talk.

  4. Great to meet you guys! I had fun at dinner and I'll be definitely checking in at your blog.

  5. Bill and Karen -- I miss you guys! Still reading your wonderful blog. Please keep it up. I wish we could sit down and chat again, just to hear your thoughts on things. What lucky author are you bringing this year?


  6. Jimmy,
    We have talked about you frequently as well. Last year was such a hoot getting to spend time together!

    Actually, Bill and I are not in the same buildings anymore. I am teaching 5th grade at another building in the district. I miss parts of my old school, but lots of challenges at the new one.

    As far as author visit goes, I think we are having Louise Borden come in for a multiple day visit. I was really pushing for you or Barbara O'Connor (very selfish on my part, but I never claimed to be a saint), but they decided to go with an Ohio author to cut down on some of the expense. I love Louise's books so I know it will be a great visit.

    Bill will have to tell you what's going on at Bailey.

    Take care, and hope that all 3 of us can meet over drinks again sometime.

  7. Hey Bill! I posted a photo of you at LOC at Feel free to swipe it for your own use. It was great to meet you and Karen at the KidLitCon! :o)

  8. Karen, it was wonderful to finally meet you. Thanks for thinking of a picture, too. I'm so glad to have that. Wish we could have talked more, but ... next year!

  9. Jen,
    You know how there are just some people you read, and you feel in sync with their thinking? You are that person for me. I was so delighted to finally meet you. The sit down and gab for a long time session will have to wait until next time.

  10. I'm honored, Karen. I will say that I felt like I knew you already when we met. It's that kindred spirit thing. I'll look forward to that long chat one of these days, but we'll certainly be in touch in the meantime.