Saturday, November 3, 2007

Crowded Cranium...Full of Stories!

I am jazzed after a full week of conferencing! I just got back from my all-time favorite conference, Internet Librarian/Internet@School West, held in Monterey, CA. I have tons to say about that but FIRST I need to talk about today's conference at my own university, the 2007 SHSU Annual Book Conference. This wonderful gathering never fails to offer first-rate author guests who entertain, enthrall, and most of all inspire us to do what librarians have always done best and always will do best, share our love of books with readers of all ages. I just want to say a few words about each session that I was lucky enough to attend:
    • We started off the day with two very sharp, classy ladies (I am using adjectives my mom always used as the highest possible accolades she could give). First Cynthia Leitich-Smith talked about her life and books. I have already been plugging her blog, Cynsations, at my wiki site, but learned she also has a 2nd blog which is more about the craft of writing and also about spooky stuff which of course ties in nicely with her latest book, Tantalize, which is of all things a vampire story set in AUSTIN, TEXAS! What's not to like about that? I cannot wait to start in on my copy. If you have not been to her sites, stop reading, go now, and then come back! I will give one URL: Once you go there, you can get to her other sites by the links provided. You will find all kinds of great information and fun for you as well as for your students!
    • Next we got to hear from Joan Bauer. I have been a Joan Bauer fan for as long as I can remember. Rules of the Road is one of those books you just cannot forget. And now there is a sequel! You probably know this but I did not, due to the extreme geekiness of my present life and job which focuses so much on tech and not so much on books. Anyway, she was such a memorable speaker. What presence! What a sense of humor! Hearing her was a huge treat for me! You can find her online at:
      • Next we went to breakout sessions and I was lucky enough to attend one on podcasting from a dear friend, Dr. Bobby Ezell, also of Sam Houston State University. He did not just talk about podcasting, he had us make one, in less than one hour! I sat with a former student and super librarian, Dean Boyd of Livingston, TX. We made an interview podcast about an upcoming silent auction to raise money for the senior class at his school, and HE IS GOING TO USE IT!!! How cool is that? If you would like Bobby's super easy handouts about how to use Audacity (freeware) to make a podcast and then how to easily save it as a web page just using MS Word, leave a comment or email me and I will send them. Bobby has a great knack for making things easy and his step by step comments will get you up and going in no time, as evidenced by the fact that everyone in the session left with a working podcast to upload. When I get the link for ours, I will share it!
      • After lunch I wandered around, thinking I might stop by my office and do a little catching up before the last author talk. But I ran into a great old friend, one of those people with whom you can get right back into a conversation as if you had seen each other yesterday when in actuality it has been several years. She is Lynn Morris, librarian extraordinaire of Frank Elementary in Klein, TX. She was going in to hear De Cee Cowin, storyteller, and I fell in behind her. WAS I GLAD I DID THAT! This man is a fantastic storyteller! He has the timeless ability of storytellers to cast a spell over his audience and take you away to another place, this time Osaka, Japan. Not only does he tell a great story, he then talks about the connections these stories have to all cultures and to the human condition. If I were still a school librarian, I would be contacting him ASAP to ask him to come to my school. We all left his presence a little bit wiser. Here is his website:
      • Finally the last session of the day came around. The morning session was for the ladies, with Cynthia Leitich-Smith and Joan Bauer speaking. In the afternoon session, the guys were front and center. First we heard from Cynthia's husband, Greg Leitich-Smith. He, too, is a writer, with several fiction books out for "tweens." He gave a delightful review of his past, and a cute little tyke he was, and also shared a great story of the evolution of the cover for his book, Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo. The final cover looks great, and thank goodness they did not stop with one of the earlier iterations. His site is:
      • Last but not least was Mo Willems, who did not disappoint! He was clever and soooo funny and even got some great audience involvement going where at one point attendees acted out an early reader book, and everyone learned how to draw a pigeon. Yes, even I can draw a pigeon now! He really made me see how the different elements of a picture book such as size, shape, page color, size of illustration, number of words on pages, and other details, are carefuly thought out to achive the desired creative expression. I am sure you know Knuffle Bunny and his other books, and here is his website (I love all the cartoon characters in the bar at the top of the page):
It is getting dark on this last day of daylight saving time, and I have not allowed myself supper or any other diversion before sitting down to blog about today. I will be coming in soon with some pictures to accompany the text, but hope I have captured a little of the magic of this special day. Any time you can hear an author or storyteller is a special day, so this one was a banner day for me!

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry that I missed the Book Conference at Sam it sounds as amazing as always. I am working now on Saturdays but I love that too I just don't get to meet authors!

    I enjoy your blog and still learning from you even though I am no longer officially your student. I especially look forward to some of your follow up posts from the conference in Monterey with some of the URLs that you mentioned in your posts.