Every year, I attend the MBA children’s authors breakfast. While tons of independent booksellers and some local authors and illustrators eat a continental breakfast, we listen to four children’s authors talk for 15 minutes each. Sometimes they talk about their writing process, other times (Eoin Colfer comes to mind), they simply charm the booksellers into wanting to sell their book to every person who walks through the door.
This year, I heard three authors. The fourth was stuck in Boston due to bad weather. They were John Green, Laurie Keller, and Polly Horvath. Although I enjoyed all three speakers, my favorite was Polly Horvath.
She talked about hooptedoodle (see #2 on the list) and how it applies to her new book, My One Hundred Adventures.
She also told a very funny story about being in a small town for a book signing and nobody showing up. Finally, after an embarrassing, excruciating wait, one woman flew through the door, thrilled that Polly was still there. But the woman was convinced Polly was Jane Austen. The woman, who, it turns out, was on a day pass from a mental health institution, kept calling her Miss Austen. Finally, after 30 minutes, Polly interrupted to say, "Please, call me Jane."
And she told about how her mother used to read the kids the "Ballad of the Harp Weaver," "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire," and other mournful, dramatic poems. I think you can still see the impact of those poems on her work today.
I hope you all get the opportunity to hear smart, funny, honest children’s writers/illustrators speak sometime soon. It’s always a treat!