Saturday I attended the Children's Literature breakfast sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. It was a great event and I really enjoyed myself.
This was my first real chance to talk to teachers and librarians--the ones who are actually in the trenches fighting the good fight encouraging kids to read. I learned a ton of stuff and it was really nice to actually connect with the "gatekeepers" so to speak. When you write for adults you can reach out directly to your audience, but I've discovered that when you write for kids you really are filtered through several layers: teachers, librarians and parents. And your feedback is often filtered through these layers, as well.
So it was exciting for me to make some of these connections. I was only sorry that I couldn't talk to all 400 odd attendees--I'm sure they all had something interesting to say!
In addition, the event had two guest speakers, Jack Prelutsky and Brian Selznick. Sieur Prelutsky is the Poetry Foundation's Children's Poet Laureate and he gave a marvelous talk on the importance of poetry, and then sang several of his new poems. Sieur Selznick's gorgeously illustrated book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" is an interesting attempt to make a silent movie in book form and it is getting quite a bit of buzz.
Also, there were heart shaped donuts.