Jane Yolen was this year’s Medallion recipient and she gave a very nice speech about the importance of story.
This is my fifth Kaigler festival; each one seems better than the last.
This year Julie Owen came along and co-presented with me. Our newest workshop is “Read a Book, Make a Book!” We had more than 50 librarians (and a few writers and illustrators) in the room. We were so busy with the hands-on bookmaking that we didn’t get a single photograph. Errrrgh!
We had good suggestions from Micha Archer, an honor winner in this year’s Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Contest.
Patrick and T, the husband and daughter of Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, who won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for her illustrations of Same, Same But Different. She also was an honor winner of the EJK new writer award for Same Same But Different. One of my favorite bits of the signing time at Barnes and Noble was my tea party with T, while her mom signed books.
I spent some time visiting with Floyd Dickman, learning about the curriculum work he’s done with quilts and children’s books in Ohio.
During my signing time, I met some librarians from Meridian.
I spent time with my SCBWI friends at the Southern Breeze table. Claudia Pearson and Jo Kittinger worked hard to spread the word among librarians about homegrown writers and illustrators and to encourage would-be writers and illustrators among the librarians to join us at SCBWI.
Hester Bass, author of The Secret World of Walter Anderson, hosts the Southern Breeze table.
Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco, who were signing their book, True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries.
Thanks, Julie, for coming along, and for taking the pictures that include me.
Some photos from the signing at Lemuria for Civil Rights History From the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement, which is edited by Emilye Crosby. She was joined in discussing the book by Charles M. Payne, a professor at the University of Chicago, who contributed an essay. I introduced her because she’s my big, no, scratch that, older sister.
This picture also includes Patty and Dave Crosby and Gustina Atlas, who taught Emilye and me algebra and trigonometry at Port Gibson High School.
Come see my sister, Dr. Emilye Crosby, at Lemuria this evening at 5:30 p.m. for a discussion of her new book, Civil Rights History From the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement. Dr. Charles M. Payne, who contributed an essay to the book, will also be there. Payne taught me at Northwestern University 24 years ago, but he is now teaching at the University of Chicago. His essay is titled “Sexism is a Helluva Thing.”
Read a review of the book on Lemuria’s website here. There are lots of nice pictures, too.
Today I leave for Seattle to attend the Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Award Ceremony. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a finalist in the nonfiction category. I’ll be visiting with some friends I’ve known since the day I started kindergarten in Evanston, IL. It’ll be a quick trip, but my son, Douglas, is coming along and we are going to pack as much in as we can.
I spent a great day with students and teachers at Washington School. I had sessions with first graders through fifth graders and the emphasis shifted over the course of the day from more Wolfsnail to more Growing Patterns. The students had wonderful questions; there were a bunch of young scientists in the library that day. Thank you, Louise Potin, elementary librarian at Washington School, for the invitation and the tremendous time.
I spent last weekend in Cincinnati for a mixture of work and pleasure. I signed books and talked with readers at Books by the Banks, a festival organized by librarians and others interested in promoting literacy in the Cincinnati area.
I woke up with a very scratchy throat on Saturday and proceeded to lose my voice over the course of the day. I had help from my table mate, author Julie K. Rubini, who greeted all-comers to our table, and from my Aunt Mary, who explained the Fibonacci sequence and helped kids and adults use the Private Eye magnifying loupes to examine a pinecone and a nautilus shell.
I have many relatives living in Cincinnati and several came to see me at Books by the Banks.
Here I am with my mother’s cousin Paul, my mother’s brother, Terry, and my great Aunt Ann.
Earlier on Friday, I read Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature to several groups of third graders at Pleasant Ridge Montessori.
After we read the book, we made our own growing pattern, starting with 5 and 5.
Here I am pictured with Sharon Draper, author of many books for young readers, including the most recent Out of My Mind. She and I crossed paths earlier this year at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS.
I have been going more than usual and now I need to take a breath and tell you all about it. (Quickly, too, because I am heading back out on the road tomorrow.) I’ll catch up chronologically.
I presented Growing Patterns at a Wells Church fellowship supper. It was wonderful to be among such good friends and to share Fibonacci numbers with our neighborhood kids.
A bonus for me (and I hope for the audience) was that I read from my newest manuscript. Reading it out as a work-in-progress really helps me. I need to hear how it’s working (or not). Mostly I feel like it is, which is really satisfying.
Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference
I presented two workshops at the Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference: “Photos+Stories=Winning Nonfiction” and “Earn $$ Before You are Published.” I had 90 minutes with each group of writers, which was very nice. I was able to use about a third of the time to hear from them about their projects and share some advice.
The Columbus Public Library was a very nice venue and the technology worked flawlessly (except one glitch of mine, which was fixed by one of the participants in my workshop. Thank you, David Johnson. I hope he publishes his project.)
The night before my presentations I enjoyed a reading and talk by Jessica Handler, the author of Invisible Sisters. I loved the excerpts she read to us and I found what she had to say about writing memoir very interesting.
McWillie Elementary School Visit
Chastain Middle School Visit by Jewell Parker Rhodes
When I began writing for children, I searched for others who were writing for children in Mississippi. Early on, I found Deborah Wiles‘ books, but I couldn’t find her.
On the internet I found out that she lived in Maryland. When she came to Lemuria bookstore in Jackson to sign, I made sure I went. I had to work up the courage to admit that I was trying to be a writer for children, too. She was kind and encouraging. Most folks in this business are, but there was something about her “you can do it,” that I believed. Deborah (who now lives in Atlanta) came back to Lemuria this week to sign Countdown, her genre-busting new book. It is a documentary novel, chock full of black and white photographs, advertisements and other visuals from 1962.
Deborah read from the book’s opening and then a tiny snippet from much further in. I could have listened much longer. I think she should record the audio book version. I feel so lucky to live in a town with a fabulous independent bookstore that has a very cool performance space for readings. Here is a picture of Emily Grossenbacher, the manager of Lemuria’s children’s store. You can read her post about Countdown here.
Two of the young visitors at Square Books Jr. use Private Eye jewelers loupes to examine snails and other things from my basket. This is Sallie and Julia, the daughters of fellow writer/illustrator Sarah Frances, who hails from Oxford. This is a great bookstore for settling in and browsing a terrific collection.
Here is the desk Jill set up for me to sign on. She made me sit there to read, too. You can see her pictures of that section of the event on Square Books Jr.’s Facebook page. And, here is Jill.
Before the bookstore, I went to the Oxford Public Library for a presentation for young readers. The kids had fantastic questions — about everything from snails to photography. I think Nancy Opalko, the children’s librarian, for the invitation. I also got to see Judy Card, the youth services coordinator for the First Regional Library, of which the Oxford branch is a part. I first met Nancy and Judy at the Mississippi Library Association conference last fall and wrote about it here.
I am taking Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature to Oxford, Miss., Wednesday for appearances at the Oxford Public Library and Square Books Jr. Please come see me if you are in the vicinity. The presentation at the library will be more about Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator and the reading/signing at the bookstore will focus on Growing Patterns.
On Thursday, I will be on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Creature Comforts Radio Show at 9 a.m. Libby Hartfield, director of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, invited me on to talk about wolfsnails. We’ll have some time to discuss Growing Patterns, too, and topics close to my heart like photography, getting kids interested in nature, helping kids learn to take pictures, etc. I hope you’ll tune in and call in some questions.