Western Washington University's Bond Children's Literature Conference

I've got a lot of fun things to share from my trip to Spain (check back tomorrow).

But FIRST, I have to shout out a big THANK YOU to Nancy Johnson up at Western Washington University here in Bellingham for a great conference on Saturday! For the last 6 years Nancy's been organizing an amazing annual children's literature conference. This year's line up was especially fantastic.

My favorite snippets from each speaker at the conference:

Joan Bauer spoke about finding 2 quirky little lamps that she placed in dark corners of her house where she didn't even know she had space. She likened this to stories and books: they are often lights in dark corners and, especially in bad times, it's important to fill those dark corners with light. Let your light shine!

Kadir Nelson showed us photos and talked about the research that went into making WE ARE THE SHIP. The heart he put into making the book is inspiring.

Sarah Pennypacker talked about often feeling inspired to somehow right an injustice through her writing. I liked how she talked about A.D.D. kids and how they are often keenly empathetic, artistic and innovative. When she wrote CLEMENTINE, she created a book where the adults sincerely thank the A.D.D. kid for the empathy, artistic spirit and innovative nature she shares with others.

Brian Selznick pretty much made my week by talking about and showing pictures about the making of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. I loved that he showed us images from French silent movies and that he played "The Man On The Moon" for us. He also talked about a conversation he had with a friend that changed his perspective on his work. A few years ago he had been feeling kind of down because many of his books were going out of print after 4 or 5 years. His friend asked if he liked each book better than the last. While Brian liked all of his books, he couldn't honestly say that he had stepped it up a notch after each book. So he make the HUGO CABRET. Awesome.

Three other very cool things about the conference:
1. Nancy organized a very welcoming and fun "meet the author" reception the day before. Delicious food and I got a chance to say hi to the authors.
2. Nancy invited me to introduce Kadir Nelson! What an honor. I managed not to stumble on my face or cough or shake (even though I was nervous).
3. SCBWI Western Washington had an information table. A lot of the attendees at the conference are teachers and librarians so we advertised our eKite speaker directory. Of course many teachers and librarians who are literature minded also pursue writing so we chatted with lots of writers throughout the day too. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the table.

And Thanks again, Nancy Johnson, for a great conference. I'll be first in line to sign up for next year's.