three things I love:
children’s literature, independent bookstores, and teachers and librarians who love the same, and who long, in spite of budget cuts, standardized testing, and technology fever, to expand the bound offerings (by this I mean books, of course) on their classroom shelves.
a fourth thing I love: Anderson Bookshop’s Children’s Literature Breakfast, which always seems to come just after Valentine’s Day and before first thaw, when I, at least, need it the most.
Yesterday morning approximately 500 of us teachers, librarians, and writers gathered at the chandelier-festooned Abbington Banquet Facility to, yes, eat scrambled eggs and diced potatoes, but also to talk books, kids, and culture. As always, Anderson’s put on an incredible show, with book-connoisseurs Jan Dundon & Kathleen March giving their top picks for 2009, and then guest speakers Pam Allyn, Jordan Sonnenblick, Francoise Mouly, Patricia McKissak, Henry Cole, and Richard Peck sharing their thoughts and experiences.
I took notes.
Here are just a few that I’ve been reflecting on today:
“For children in transition, books matter so much . . . for anchoring.”
This came from Pam Allyn, author of What To Read When: The Books and Stories to Read With Your Child and all the Best Times to Read Them.
I loved that, the idea that I’d never had put into words before, but understood immediately based on my own experience–books as life-lines and live-preservers, securing us against harsh winds or stormy seas. (We all get that, right?) Later in the morning, when Francoise Mouly, art editor of the New Yorker and publisher and editorial director of TOON book (and also founder, publisher and designer, along with her husband, cartoonist Art Spiegelman, of RAW), said in a great French accent, “You can’t click on a book. It’s engraved,” that idea became even more “anchored” for me. We can, as Mouly pointed out, go back again and again to the mess of Eloise’s room. Because Eloise NEVER cleans her mess up, we can over time evaluate our own evolving mess and order against hers.
Not so in the shifting virtual world.
Mouly also said this: “What interesting about images is that they have an artist’s voice.” I love this. What is Giotto’s voice, I’ve been wondering all day. What is Gerhardt Richter’s tone and inflection? I’ll keep thinking on this.
There were so many other wonderful moments yesterday–to0 many to recount now, because we’ve got a fire going, and, yes, I’m going to sit in front of it and have left-over pizza with Teo and read. BUT.
I have to quote Richard Peck, I do, who said: “Find the rough poetry in real speech,” and also “A book unites what the computer divides,”
and “nobody a writer ever loved is dead,” and just all around gives us an example of a man who possesses his age and transforms the world through words.
He’s mighty elegant, too.