The highlights for me:
- being on a panel with writers Meg Medina, Wendy Shang, and (my wonderful former student and VCFA graduate) Maha Addasi. Moderated by the amazing Alexandria LaFaye.
- being on the diversity panel with June Cummins, Sarah Park, Zetta Elliot and Thomas Crisp. Thank you to Sarah and Tom for organizing this convergence of minds.
- meeting Tom Angleberger and Bruce Coville. Learning to fold an Origami Yoda (OK, the simple version)
- seeing original art for Goodnight Moon along with work by Thacher Hurd, Ruth Sanderson, and Ashley Wolff in the exhibition titled Goodnight Hush: Classic Children's Book Illustrations. Part of the yearlong celebration of the life and work of Margaret Wise Brown, Hollins University alumna''32.
- meeting Thacher Hurd, and hearing his wise, reflective, tender, funny exploration of the legacies of Margaret Wise Brown
- meeting Meena Khorana, scholar, biographer, editor, teacher, and the single most passionate advocate I know of in advancing the work of South Asian and diasporic writers in children's literature in America.
- learning about Turkey's 100 Essential Readings, ideologically driven translated texts of classic Western children's literature in an informative and thought-provoking panel paper presented by Neslihan Kansu-Yetkiner. In the same session, learning from Marianna Spanaki about the work of the first Greek children's novelist, Penelope Delta.
- Julia Mickenberg and Philip Nel's lecture on Radical Children's Literature Now!
- the Phoenix Award presentation
- seeing Mary Downing Hahn after a gap of 15 years and picking up the conversation with no effort at all
- and much, much more. A wonderful conference and a warm and welcoming children's literature community.
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Pictures to come.