Monday, I shared the group poems written by the K‑5 students at the Penn-Harris-Madison Young Authors Conference last weekend in Mishiwaka, IN. Today, I want to just share a few details/thoughts on the event.
- My entire family except me was born in Indiana, and I found out right before I left Minnesota that my maternal grandparents lived in Mishiwaka for a year and a half shortly after my parents married. Now, my parents are not big on extended family. I do not even know if I have any living aunts, uncles, or cousins (though I don’t think I do). I only got to see my Grandma Foshee 5 or 6 times, because she lived in California and we lived in Florida (my family moved from IN to FL shortly before I was born). My Grandpa Foshee died before I was born. But somehow, driving around Mishiwaka felt very homey and familiar (and it looks like parts of the Twin Cities, too).
- Lisa Duerksen, who organized the Young Authors Conference, was fabulous! So was Linda Knapp, the media specialist volunteer who was the helper in my room. Big thanks to both of them, plus the Penn-Harris-Madison Corporation, all the volunteers, and the PHM Education Foundation.
- I discovered this event goes back a long way. On the flight to South Bend, IN, in a very small plane, the lady next to me told me that her college age kids went to the PHM YAC when they were little! What a great tradition!
- Kids rotated between three sessions: me, a cool-sounding puppet show from Roz Puppets, and a small group event where students shared writing they had done before the conference. All the kids were so eager to read and write and share–I loved it! Parents were very participatory, too, which is always great. When kids went to the small group sharing, their parents heard about literacy and writing from Kathy Higgs-Coulthard, director of the Michiana Writers’ Center. So the whole family was very involved.
- The YAC sold my books in the school lobby, and I signed books for about an hour after my last session. It was awesome to chat with so many parents and young writers!
- I flew out Friday afternoon/evening, did the event Saturday until 1, and then flew back home Saturday evening. Quite a whirlwind! Though I did find time for French onion soup in an Irish pub by Notre Dame and a visit to the South Bend Chocolate Company. :>)
All in all, my first, but hopefully not my last, trip to Indiana was great.