I went to the Hubbs Children’s Literature Conference Saturday, which has an audience of mainly librarians and teachers. Here’s a quick slideshow:
I debated going. I was exhausted and had work to do. And it’s not aimed at writers, so the practical me wondered, “What will I get out of it?” But?I went and had a great time.
1) A school librarian I walked in with recognized Stampede and talked about specific poems and how much her students enjoy that book. She even bought my single copies of BookSpeak! and A Leaf Can Be… later in the day. They were my personal copies, with “Laura’s Copy” stickers on the backs and Post-Its sticking out all over. I did not take them with the intent of selling them, obviously :>)
2) Christopher Paul Curtis gave a funny and heartwarming speech about his career?and his mom’s influence on his writing. The man is an amazing storyteller.
3) Linda Sue Park, who also publishes with Clarion, recognized me and had heard of BookSpeak! We’ve met before (sat at?Clarion’s table at the Newbery banquet a couple of years ago). But she must meet a bazillion writers and industry people every year.
4) Linda Sue gave a passionate and heartwarming speech, much of it centering around A Long Walk to Water, which sounds absolutely amazing and is based on a true story of a good friend of hers. I teared up several times. (I know, I’m a wuss.)
5) I got to catch up with some local kidlit friends like Steve and Vicki Palmquist of the Children’s Literature Network and?Quinette Cook, recent Hamline graduate. Waved at John Coy and said hi to a couple of Red Balloon Bookshop people, too. Talked with writer Faythe Thureen, who also kindly took some pix of me and Linda Sue.
6) Bought myself Chris and Linda Sue’s newest books (The Mighty Miss Malone and Long Walk to Water) and can’t wait to read them.
It was fun meeting librarians and teachers. I talked with a potential client or two of Mentors for Rent. I got some cool ideas for single-sheet books. I learned how the Caldecott Committee functions. So, I got a TON out of this conference. It was inspiring and satisfying, and a great reminder that I need to leave my comfort zone more often. Just because a conference isn’t specifically for writers doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t go.