“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.” — Abraham Lincoln
This past Friday, I attended my second Illinois Author and Illustrator Luncheon at the 44th Annual Illinois Reading Council Conference. I’m a big, big fan of the IRC and its mission: “to provide support and leadership to educators as they promote and teach lifelong literacy.” I’ve been honored to present at the conference in the past, and there’s nothing like this particular luncheon, where writers and illustrators for kids and teens get to sit down and talk with those educators who are passionate about books, and are working to instill that passion in the kids they teach.
People like this:
We talked about the books we love, the books our kids love, the books that win the awards (often the same as those we love, but not always). We talked about the upcoming midnight showing of The Hunger Games, and when to hit the best sales at Office Max so you can stock up on school supplies for the kids who can’t afford them. We talked about war, and what it’s like when your son is deployed, and how I researched While He Was Away, and why I wrote Lucy’s Family Tree, and if I wrote when I was a kid. (“Yes,” I said. “Orange notebooks. Just like Harriet the Spy.”) I signed their copies of Dream Journal. “Remember your dreams,” I wrote on the title pages–which seemed really appropriate, given the challenges and rewards of their shared profession.
Then we said a fond good-bye.
After that I got to see a few of my friends who are writers and scholars. Friends like:
Friends who all have their feet on the ground, I promise.
And then there was the whole, happy room of writers and illustrators.
Here’s the roster (I encourage you to Google all of them!):
Krista August, George Bailey, Blue Balliett, Kathi Baron, Raymond Bial, B.A. Binns, Debbie Chocolate, Carolyn Crimi, Kat Falls, Beth Finke, Scott Gustafson, Michele Weber Hurwitz, Kimberly M. Humacher, Sara L. Latta, Laurie Lawlor, Steven L. Layne, Marianne Malone, Alice B. McGinty, W. Nicola-Lisa, Janet Nolan, Nnedi Okorafor, Patricia Hruby Powell, Sherri Duskey Rinker, Barb Rosenstock, Casey Salmon, Me, Kristina Springer, Nancy Steward, Salty M. Walker, Jeff Weigel.
If you are interested in attending or presenting at IRC 2013, please do explore the possibilities here: http://www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org/eventscalendar.html