October 13, 2014 @ 6:08 pm | Filed under: Books
If you, like me, missed Kidlitcon this past weekend, Leila has a delicious recap & link roundup for you at Bookshelves of Doom. I haven’t been since 2010, the Minneapolis gathering, and I had many a pang of longing as the tweets and FB updates came rolling in. But it was delightful to see so many of my blog-pals having what was clearly a Very Good Time.
One reason I couldn’t be there is because I was engaged to speak at SCBWI-San Diego on Saturday. (The other reason is because I have a hundred children and am therefore Always Broke. You know how it is.) I’m happy to say my SCBWI talk seemed to go over very well. The topic was Middle-Grade and Chapter Books, two categories of children’s publishing I can speak about with considerable enthusiasm. What’s more fun than speaking to a full house about your very favorite books? The crowd was wonderful, with really smart questions afterward. The only thing that could have made it more fun would have been having the Kidlitcon crowd there. 🙂
Sunday felt amazingly luxurious: nothing was required of me but to read. This was convenient, as the nominee tally in my CYBILs category is currently 100 novels, with more contenders coming in every day. Only two more days, guys, until the public nomination period closes. People are starting to compile lists of worthy books that haven’t yet been nominated; you can find links to those posts here.
Speaking of piles of books, the younger set and I finished The Boxcar Children over the weekend (it’s a mighty quick read) and today it fell upon to me choose the next readaloud. Sometimes I know EXACTLY what book I want to reach for next, and other times I have option paralysis. Today was the latter sort of occasion. I got Rose to go around the house with me, pulling likely candidates off shelves, and when we had a comfortable stack, I decided on a Jane-Rose-Beanie favorite, Rowan of Rin. Chapter one was well received. I’ve never read this one aloud before, and there’s always a risk—some great books just don’t make great readalouds. But so far, so good. So gripping!
I arrived in Minneapolis on Friday evening and found my way to the light-rail station. A helpful security guard pointed me toward the ticket machines, adding: “Costs about two dollars. $180 fine if you’re caught without a ticket.” Do I look like a potential trainhopper? Who knew!
It was a gorgeous night: full moon (or almost full, I couldn’t tell), cool but not cold, clear, bright. I walked the half-mile or so to my hotel, passing right by the convention site, an incredible bookstore/coffee house/meeting place called Open Book that had everyone oohing and ahhing all weekend (and beyond). I knew the KidlitCon welcome reception was just winding down, and it felt a little strange to walk on past, but I was lugging my suitcase and wanted to check into the hotel.
An hour later, I was washed and brushed and peeking into Open Book’s lovely loft auditorium space where Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton were nearly finished with their panel about their Merry Sisters of Fate critique group and story blog. I scanned the faces in the audience and immediately recognized Liz of A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, and Pam of MotherReader—both of whom are such longtime blogging pals it was hard to believe I was meeting them in person for the first time. When the panel ended we had a lot of hugging and laughing to do.
These high spirits carried us well toward midnight, both in the chatty aftermath of the panel and in the hotel bar later on. I got to see so many online chums—Camille of BookMoot, Jen Robinson, Sarah Stevenson, and Charlotte Taylor, to name a few—and met other lovely people like Laura Lutz of The Page Turn and Alice Pope of the SCWBI children’s market blog. It’s hard to convey in a post like this how fantastic it is to get a chance to chat with other writers, bloggers, and publishing-world folks. It’s the same thing I love about San Diego Comic-Con every year: the lively discussion, the sense of community, the you read that too?
The next morning a shuttle zipped us back to Open Book for KidlitCon proper. Opening remarks, Maggie Stiefvater’s entertaining keynote speech (much tweeted, much recapped), and then the breakout panels.
This completes my collection of KidlitCon photos. Whoops. I was having too much fun gabbing.
My own “Blogging the Backlist” panel took place during the first breakout session. I was privileged to have Jen Robinson, Charlotte Taylor, and the extraordinary Carol Rasco of RIF on the panel with me. We had a grand time discussing the many excellent reasons to blog about older books. I’ll post my notes on this in a separate post (and don’t miss Charlotte’s recap), but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights via Twitter. (HUGE thanks to Greg Pincus, who wasn’t able to attend the convention, for compiling the entire KidlitCon Twitterfeed!)
RascofromRIF:: Brian Farrey, a #KidLitCon organizer, intro’s our panel — he has fond memories of being a RIF kid! http://yfrog.com/5xy17fj
mudmamba:: Funny that four out-of-state presenters are talking about Minnesota’s own Betsy-Tacy books!
mosylu: Charlotte is talking about the benefit of blogging about older books you love instead of all new new new
mosylu: melissa wiley is talking about sharing her enthusiasm for the books she’s always loved
lovelyleann: Is it horrible that I don’t know the Betsy Tacy books? Is that even how you spell her name?
mosylu: benefit to the blog: showing more of your personality when you blog about books that are personally meaningful
LizB: RT @MaryLeeHahn: listening to Melissa Wiley, coiner of the word Kidlitosphere!
MaryLeeHahn: @RascofromRIF has definitely made RIF more personable.
mosylu: what do readers get out of backlist blogging? @RascofromRIF sez: sharing something new-to-them
justkeepreading: Enjoying Backlist session. Need to blog Lois Duncan because if it!
mosylu: @bonnyglen talks about the excitement of readers rediscovering old favorites
justkeepreading: #kidlitcon blogging on older titles can be cheaper for readers and less frustrating cuz book, and often whole series, is out.
mosylu: adding to my blogroll listening to charlotte taylor in the backlist blogging panel
mosylu: @bonnyglen talks about keeping interest current in older books
mudmamba: Thinking about how blogging the backlist/out of print books will tie in well with the rise of e-books.
mudmamba: Back when I had a books blog I rarely did new titles. It didn’t occur to me that I should.
thepageturn: Blog I haven’t heard of before: Children’s War. All kids books about WWII. Fascinating!
mosylu:@bonnyglen talks about being able to write critically (not nasty, but analytical) about older titles
mudmamba: Like the idea of “greater good” blogging to crowd-source a resource on backlist books.
mudmamba: Just scored a Betsy-Tacy volume 1.
mosylu: comments from the panel about contemporary views of older books, like Caddie Woodlawn’s treatment of Native Americans
mosylu: @bonnyglen is cracking me up with her giddy Betsy-Tacy fangirlness
(Jumping ahead: Later that night, at the dinner, someone asked me, “So, what, are you like the president of the Betsy-Tacy fan club?” And I said, “No, but I get to meet her tomorrow!” And I did. Susan Brown, President of the Betsy-Tacy Society, that is!)
The fabulous Jennifer Hart of HarperPerennial had sent me copies of several Betsy-Tacy and Deep Valley books to give away at my panel. We offered them to people who asked questions. We got a lot of questions. 🙂
Oh dear, here I am only a couple of hours into the day and the post is already 900 words long. I’ve barely begun! What’s to be done? I have notes on all the panels I attended; tomorrow I’ll try to type them up the way I do my Comic-Con notes. Of course many of the best moments happened in the interstices: discussing homeschooling and dear sons with Carol Rasco, who is a treasure; meeting more online friends like Haley Scharf, Mary Lee, Susan Marie Swanson, Maureen, and (at long last) Kelly Herold, the first children’s lit blogger I encountered way back in 2005 shortly after Bonny Glen was born; hearing how Susan Taylor Brown‘s native garden is coming along; swapping stories with Alice and Sarah; trading recipes with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. I’ll see your dandelion fritters and raise you a chai soup!
OK, so panel notes tomorrow and the Betsy-Tacy tour and Margaret in Minnesota visit after that. For now, tonight, a last expression of thanks (and awe) to KidlitCon organizers Andrew Karre, Ben Barnhart, and Brian Farrey, who did a truly amazing job. Huge round of applause for their efforts.
Andrew is collecting the recaps at the KidlitCon 2010 site, and there’s a Flickr pool too.
1000 words! This post is worth one picture!
I fly to Minneapolis tomorrow. My first time in Minnesota! My first time going anywhere alone, without Scott and/or the kids, since, um, before there were kids, I think?
If you’ll be there, come talk to me. I’m shy about introductions (though never afterward). (Famous Peterson family story: Scott’s sister lived in Somalia when Scott and I first met, so we’d been dating for months before I met her. I’d heard all about her; she’s Scott’s only sister, the oldest of the five Peterson kids—he’s the youngest—and I was excited to meet her but terribly, terribly shy about it. Some family friends were getting married and I knew that’s where I’d be meeting Susan for the first time. Fierce rain that day. Scott dropped me off outside the church and went to park. As I entered the lobby, I saw his mom and sisters-in-law in conversation with a beautiful woman I recognized as Susan from the pictures on his parents’ staircase wall. I walked toward them, mentally rehearsing what to say: Hi, Susan, I’m Lissa. Hi, Susan, I’m Lissa. But as I drew near, Susan greeted me first: “Hi, Lissa!” And I panicked, blurting out: “Hi! I’m Susan!” Because I am so very very poised in all circumstances, oh yes.)
So anyway, if you see me at KidlitCon please don’t wait for me to make the first move. If I fumble and say my name is your name by mistake, you’ll know why.
I think I’ll miss most (or all) of the reception tomorrow night. My flight is supposed to land at 5:40 and the reception starts at six.
I have not flown since the Barcelona trip two years ago (gosh, going on three) and before that I think it had been 1999 when I went to Georgia for my uncle’s funeral. True confession: I actually love airline food and I’m sad that you don’t get it automatically (i.e. for free) anymore. How cool, though, that I can have my boarding pass sent straight to my cellphone.
I hope I remember to pack my charger.
I washed my red coat to take with me. I’ve only worn it once or twice in the four years since we moved here—oh I know, I bet I wore it last December to that terrific singalong at the organ pavilion in Balboa Park. Huh, nope. Just looked at the pictures and it must have been a warmish day. Rose is in short sleeves! So who knows how long my coat has been mustifying in the closet. When I took it out of the washer, I found loot from the pockets, fourteen dollars along with a pair of little black earwarmers my awesome friend Lisa gave me when we lived in Virginia, where the winters are freezy and I was always wincing over my icy ears. They are heartwarmers, too, because when I saw them—for the first time since our last Blue Ridge winter, I imagine—I was hit with such a wave of love for Lisa. Of course that happens pretty much every time I think of her: that’s the sort of person she is.
My parents and niece are coming here for a visit this week—we will practically cross in the air. Well, almost. I bet my house won’t be very picked up when they arrive. They won’t mind.
Do I need to pack an umbrella? I wonder if I can find the pink one I paid a zillion Euros for in Barcelona that day I got caught in the rain.
Not wearing my red coat at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion last December.