So much for my good intentions of blogging my way through the conference. It seems that you can attend conference events or you can sit in your hotel room and blog about them.
High point so far has been the Scholastic Literary Brunch, where editors and authors spoke movingly and with humor about their upcoming books. David Levithan, in introducing their new book Eleventh Plague commented that he has gotten so many dystopian-after-the-apocalypse novels that at times he thinks “Bring it on! It has to be better than reading these books”. His point was that this one is a great one in a very crowded field. We all got to eat pie in honor of Sarah Weeks’ new book, Pie, and Allen Say made most of the room cry.
Another high point was getting to meet Kate DiCamillo and Michelle Knudsen and to smile at least at Katherine Paterson. It’s fascinating how different the authors are from each other.
Another interesting thing is that Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) both said the same thing in speeches yesterday. Each of them commented that when they go into Kindergarten/First grade classrooms and ask Who here is an artist? Who here is a writer? the hands all go up, but when they ask the same question in fourth or fifth grade, only one or two hands go up. They each said that part of the reason they make cartoon books for kids is to encourage them to keep up with drawing and writing. Although they both work hard on their books, they try hard to make it look easy and do-able.
As always it was fun listening to teens talk about this year’s books at the Best Fiction for Young Adults session–you have to love their enthusiasm and their honesty, though I would never advise authors to be in the room because sometimes the kids come up with very odd statements which I will not repeat. But overall they are wise and funny.
In other news, Bourbon Street is like nothing in Chicago. You’re welcome for that dazzling piece of insight. And now, off to the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet for more food and more speeches and more chances to show the great writers and illustrators for kids how much we appreciate their work.