It feels like it’s been forever since I blogged about anything and I don’t really feel like I have a post in me right now. I just know that I don’t want anyone to feel as though I’m giving up on CrazyQuiltsEdi; I’ve just been busy.
October started with me in LA to visit family and celebrate my birthday. The next weekend, I was in Cincinnati for Books by the Banks where I met Will Hillenbrand, Cinda Chima Williams, Adi Alsaid and Skila Brown. I also picked up a copy of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips, a history professor at the University of Cincinnati. I don’t get much of a chance to read adult books and am looking forward to this history about the region where I’ve lived most of my life, this region once viewed as the West with a strong influence on slavery, race and racism in the development of this country. The highlight of the even for me was the panel Children’s Diverse Book Matter with bookseller Alia Jones and authors Greg Leitich Smith and Zetta Elliott, hosted by librarian extraordinaire, Sam Bloom . Did you know there are more children’s books set in Australia than Texas printed in the U.S.? Given the tremendous influence that TX has on children’s books, the rest of us don’t hold much hope of being represented in children’s literature. Diversity can feel so much like the same conversation over and over again, but it’s a conversation that really has been limited to those of us connected to children’s literature. Books by the Banks was an opportunity to reach a new audience and kudos to Sam and the organizers for working to make this happen. And of course, there was tea.
The next weekend was New York where I presented at Book Fest @ Bank Street with Cheryl Hudson. I want to say that our presentation was a really small part of the day, but there’s nothing small in having the honor of presenting with Cheryl. Although we all know her as the co-founder of Just Us Books, she actually spent an early part of her career as a graphic designer. With visual literacy as the theme of the day and presenters including but not limited to Francoise Mouly, Rudy Gutierrez, Raúl Colón, Laurent Linn, Hervé Tullet, Angela Dominguez, Jason Chin, Brian Pinkney, and Christopher Myer well, I’m still processing information! I wish Pam Munoz Ryan’s keynote could be made available. It was insightful, eloquent and inspiring. I keep reeling in a charge that she gave: If you are comfortable where you are, you’re not doing enough. Me? I’m comfortable. I’m always comfortable.
I was home this past weekend but am going to Chicago tomorrow. Hamilton. A presentation on campus next weekend a bit similar to the one I did with Cheryl on reading images in picture books for thematic development, social justice and visual geography but with more of an emphasis on classroom use. I’ve got a presentation coming up with grad students on accessing, locating and organizing information sources and then it’s ALAN where I’m moderating a panel with debut authors Randi Pink and Rahul Kanakia. Immediately following that is the Literacy Research Association Conference where I’m on a panel with real experts: KT Horning, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Ashley Hope Perez, Pat Enciso and Denise Davila on changes brought to children’s literature through social media.
I think that’s it for 2016.
My Printz Committee duties will be kicking in soon and that will have an impact on my blogging as my reading requirements will shift and I’ll not be able to blog or discuss 2017 books. I have actually spoken with a few authors about interviews, I’ve got to make time to get those done. Seriously, do follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I do post there with greater regularity.
Even with this going on, I make time to pay attention #NoDAPL and the situation at Standing Rock. With so little coverage in the national media, I have to look for the news and I’m OK with that because as I follow the hashtag on Twitter, I can get factual evidence of the event. The visceral hated directed at Native Americans during this time is disgusting. We’ve stolen land from the Sioux once and here we are doing it again. Most recently, the United Nations has shown up to attempt to media the situation.
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Star Spangled Banner (verse 3)