KidlitCon 2010

October 27, 2010 @ 7:20 pm | Filed under:

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!

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!

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Blythe says:

    Gosh, I just love you up one side and down the other for this post that captures so much. All good to you.

  2. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater says:

    Oh my goodness…this is an amazing post, Melissa. I have to say, if we were in a class together, I’d like to be your “study buddy”! Thank you for taking this time, and for bringing it all alive for me again. A.

  3. aquafortis says:

    Wonderful recap! I also had the same problem of having too much fun to take pictures. 🙂

    And, your blog looks great! I guess I haven’t been by in a while, but I love it.

  4. Ann says:

    How exciting! It makes me want to go into kidlit publishing so I can attend!

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ann, anyone can attend KidlitCon! Our common link is a love of children’s books and an interest in blogging about them. There were writers, illustrators, reviewers, librarians, teachers, parents, editors, publicists, and teen bloggers present. All mad about children’s and YA literature.

    Blythe, it was lovely to meet you at dinner and breakfast. I look forward to reading your book!

    Aquafortis 😉 the same thing happens to me—there are so many folks I read in Google Reader and seldom click through to the actual blog. Though Kidlitcon left me determined to click through & comment more often. I do love the dialogue, the conversation, best about blogging. (And am therefore grateful to everyone who comments here!)

    Amy, now you’ve got me thinking how much fun it would be to take a class with you. How about a cooking class for pretend foodies? (Though you’re taking your life in your hand if you partner with me in the kitchen…) Alas for the expanse of country between us!

  6. Hannah says:

    I see your response to ANn about how anyone can attend these delightful smorgasbords … how does one find out about them? Do you just have to frequent the right kidlit blogs at the right time?