WWU CLaC Wrap-Up

Those WWU folks kept me so busy I didn’t have a chance to post about the conference. First, let me say I am so grateful to the conference committee for inviting my parents to the Friday afternoon reception. They had a great time and their presence gave me the chance to thank them publicly for all they’ve done for me. Typical of my mom: afterwards, she said she’d like to meet those two people I was talking about because they sounded very nice. 
This is not how they were dressed at the reception
 Saturday morning, Logen and Shirley, members of the student Dream Team, picked Chris and me up at the hotel at 7:45 (yes, AM!), lattes and scones in hand. Yum. We were given door-to-door service to the state-of-the-art WWU performing art center. Miracle of miracles: there were NO technological glitches. Hard to believe, but true.
I have died and gone to heaven.

To open the morning’s events, Dr. Nancy Johnson, founder of the conference, sent her greetings via YouTube from Singapore where she is teaching for two years. I’m a little suspicious of exactly how hard she’s working over there — she looked awfully tan. Then both Chris and I were given video introductions by Bellingham public school students. My intro was courtesy of Alyssa Sachs’ class, three members of which I had met the night before– so let me give a shout out to my girls, Amy, Nicole and Zoe (there should be an umlaut but I don’t know how to do that). And Alyssa did an amazing homage to The Fences Between Us, reading diary entries she’d written about being asked to introduce me. Too funny and sweet.

Me with Alyssa Sachs, uber teacher

I loved hearing Chris’ presentation. He said something that really spoke to me — that sometimes when we work and work on something, we need to go back to the emotional spark that nudged us into the project to begin with. I will confess that I was one of those skeptics who thought Arlene, Sardine was one very odd book when it came out, some 12 years or so ago. But hearing Chris’ performance-piece of the story changed my mind completely. And though I’ve always liked Yo, Yes, I now  love it after seeing Chris perform it. What a good heart and sense of humor this talented man has.

My new friend and Adrien Brody look-alike, Chris Raschka

It was great fun to greet all of the attendees — I signed books for hours, it seems. I did note that not many writer friends were at the conference and that is too bad. But I’m glad for all the teachers, librarians, and parents who did choose to spend part of their Saturday celebrating and exploring children’s books. 

Note to self: mark off March 3, 2012 for next year’s conference!