I’ve about caught up on the e-mail backlog and can focus on other things for a while. Then it’s back to the wheel. I want to tell you a little about the conference in Chicago.
This year I heard that total attendance at NCTE was around 7,000 so that’s a good crowd. Friday night Sandy and I ate with a group that included Janet Wong, Mary Jo Fresch, Peggy Harkins, Rebecca Dotlich, Heidi Mordhorst, Laura Purdie Salas, Elaine Magliaro, Arnold Adoff, and others.
Earlier that day I co-presented with Mary Jo and Peggy. Our subject was using nonfiction picture books in the classroom. We were blessed with an overflow attendance with people sitting on the floor, standing along the walls, and listening in from the hall. We ran out of handouts but Mary Jo is posting them on the NCTE site for those who didn’t get theirs and would like to obtain copies.
On Saturday I was among the authors featured at the Authors’ Luncheon and was pleased to visit with those who purchased tickets to attend. Each author was seated at a table for eight. Also at my table were author Larry Dane Brimner and Boyds Mills Press editor Carolyn Yoder. J. Patrick Lewis, our current U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, was honored with NCTE’s 2011 Excellence in Children’s Poetry Award.
I spent time Friday and Saturday signing books at the Scholastic and Boyds Mills booths, wandering the exhibit floor now and then to meet and greet, and attended a fine presentation Saturday morning by Janet Wong, Sylvia Vardell, Laura Salas, and Stephen Young.
Other friends I saw and/or visited with included Ruth Culham, Laura Robb, Lester Laminack, Jim Blasingame, Joyce Sidman, Sara Holbrook, Dona Rice, Wendy Murray, Joanna Davis-Swing, Allan Wolf, Ralph Fletcher, Suzy Capozzi, Michael Shaw, and Jan Greenberg (whose book, BALLET FOR MARTHA, won this year’s Orbis Pictus Award). Larry Dane Brimner won honors for his book, BLACK & WHITE.
Sandy came with me, which made the trip even more special. After the conference we saw some of the sights, of which Chicago has many. One thing we might not do again was to become ensnared in the crowd of onlookers lining both sides of Michigan Avenue to watch the Christmas parade. There were an estimated one million people. All we wanted to do was get through them to reach the restaurant where we had reservations. It took a lot of work but we eventually got there even though we had to walk an extra ten blocks out of our way to get around the parade route.
That’s my report. Next year the conference is in Vegas. I’m already thinking about a presentation that will get me there!