Kaigler Featured Speakers 2

Chris Barton

Chris Barton, pictured here at his signing table at Barnes & Noble, gave a wonderful talk on how important libraries and librarians have been to his writing. I am certain that if my sons were still young, I would know the text of Shark vs. Train by heart. And, one of them might have learned to read on it. Another cool fact about Chris is that he’s working on a PB biography of JR Lynch.


I think every one of us in the room wanted to be a student in one of Phil Bildner’s classes. He told us stories about teaching reading and writing through song lyrics from his favorite songs. When his students wrote to the band, Blues Traveler, one thing led to another until the lead vocalist and harmonica player was in his 4th floor classroom bawling his eyes out as Bildner’s students sang his song.
“I had a little big of an MTV unplugged thing going on.” Others included: the Fugees, Dave Matthews, and The Bare Naked Ladies.

deeedyCarmen Agra Deedy had us all in stitches as she related a story about her fifth grade year in a Georgia school without many other “foreigners.” My kids enjoyed her book, The Library Dragon.

halder presentationI attended a fascinating presentation on the work of Berta and Elmer Hader, a husband and wife team who won a Caldecott in 1949 for The Big Snow. The presentation was by Joy Hoerner Rich, the Hader’s niece (pictured on the right), and Karen Tolley. An exhibit of the Hader’s work is on display at the deGrummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi.

dollI attended a presentation by Dr. Carol Doll (pictured above in the cap that helps her avoid migraine headaches) and Kasey Garrison on identifying excellence in informational books for children. They used the measures of excellence as identified by the Robert F. Sibert Medal given by the American Library Association. Dr. Doll served on the 2011 committee. For each area of excellence (language, visual presentation, etc.), Doll and Garrison identified two examples, one good and one bad. I was chuffed to see that Growing Patterns was listed as a good example of the visual design.

Another interesting thing Doll and Garrison talked about was LUCY, a database and center for professional development that focuses on multicultural books published for children. The definition for multicultural is very broad. Read more about LUCY here. Some categories include: Africa, Racially Mixed, Middle East, Central America, and Faiths & Religious Beliefs. It looks like a very useful tool.

nephew storyI visited briefly with Kalpana Saxena, a librarian from New Orleans, at Barnes & Noble and she told me a great story about how her nephew loves the Wolfsnail book she bought a few years ago and that he makes up his own stories about wolfsnails. I love it.

w Irene and quiltHere I am with Irene Latham, author of Leaving Gee’s Bend. She was among the bevy of lefties (others being Roger Sutton & Chris Barton) I sat among while signing at Barnes & Noble. Isn’t this a wonderful quilt? A school librarian made it from strips of fabric brought it by students before one of Irene’s school visits. Very cool!

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