Monday, March 9, 2015

Children's Literature Conference 2015

Last weekend I attended the Children's Literature Conference at Western Washington University in Bellingham. This year the speakers were Kate DiCamillo, Joyce Sidman, Matt de la Peña, and Yuyi Morales. It was such an inspiring event...can I just pull a Wayne and Garth and bow to all the organizers and presenters?


I even received this certificate for attending. Kudos to Nancy for signing like 600 of them! Wow. What a turnout!

Here are a few words of wisdom I'd like to share from our most illustrious presenters:

Joyce Sidman

Joyce not only encourages us to get out in nature, but to dawdle in nature
Slow down. Take our time. Observe. Feel
Only then can we truly connect.

What the Heart Knows is one of my
favorites. It is a beautiful book and
one that touches and heals the heart.

Matt de la Peña

For Matt de la Peña, books are a secret place to feel
Coming from a Mexican-American, working class family, Matt broke free
from parental and educational definitions. Yet the hardest one to break through
 was self definition. He encouraged us to push through those barriers.

Mexican Whiteboy is a story of finding one's identity
 and pushing through those societal and self definitions

Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales is full of passion! She is also a puppet maker, did you know?! 
It was such a pleasure to hear her speak about her life and work. 
She encouraged us to start small
Little by little, we will soon have a full work of art.

Little by little, Yuyi Morales created
a mixed-media masterpiece
about the life of Frida Kahlo.

Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo has been called the "rockstar of children's lit" and rightly so. With works such as Because of Winn Dixie  and The Tale of Despereaux, we are keen to put her on the red carpet. Yet, Kate is very down to earth and was completely open about some of her personal struggles. In other words, she's human! And her bravery truly touched my heart. Here are some words she shared with us:

Hearts break, and mend, and break again.

We must bear it.

A book is a ladder to climb up; a place to rest our broken hearts.

Words matter.

Words don't fail. They lift up.

Stories connect us.

They are worlds within worlds.

They bring us back into the community, away from chaos.

Words matter.

Flora and Ulysses is a story of hope.

Thank you, Kate, for lifting us up with your words.