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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kidlitcon Highlights

I had the most amazing time in Austin this weekend at Kidlitcon!  I met so many kindred spirits who love children's literature as much as I do!  And I can't tell you how many of these fabulous folks came up to me and introduced themselves...and then said you must be the girl with the big hair blog, right?!  Um, yes...that's me.

The conference was small enough that I felt like I got to have quality conversations with people, which is so rare at conferences!  I really enjoyed spending time with my amazingly talented and fun friend, Maria.  She blogs over at Once Upon A Story.  She is also an up and coming author who I feel we'll all be reading in no time!

Cheesin' it up with Maria, Holly, Melissa, and Jennifer.

Our keynote speaker was the fabulously adorable and witty Cynthia Leitich Smith.  She was just incredible!  Take aways from her talk include:

1.  You are never too old or well read for potty humor.  "It's better to be regular than frequent."

2.  "You cannot read everything on the internet."

3.  It's ok to take a break.  We all burn out eventually...

4.  Diversity in Kids' Lit is about everyone finding themselves (authentically) in books AND also about exposing ourselves to characters and cultures that are not like us.

5.  And the most life changing thing I learned?  I want a treadmill desk!!!  Cynthia has one and has lost 95 lbs just this year!  Amazing!  

There was MUCH applause.

AND I won her cool new book!  Can't wait to read it!

Next I attended the session on blogger burnout with Sarah and Jen:



Best piece of advice from these lovely ladies:  Give yourself permission NOT to do things.  I took this to mean there are no rules.  It's my blog and I can change t up any time I want!  

These great galss also gave us a snazzy flow chart on how to get past the blogging blahs.







We had a lovely lunch (whose pesto mayo I will try to recreate!) and then Lee made a little rainstorm to get us ready to talk about diversity.

My favorite take away from his talk was that diversity isn't just about the idea of "the other," each of us must realize that we are "the other" to someone.

One of the coolest things we did was write down 3 heroes.  Then we had to write down 3 character traits of the 3 heroes.  The 9 characteristics we wrote down are the characteristics we value most.  I won't tell you who I wrote down, but I will tell you that these were my 9 characteristics:  selflessness, powerful, loving, sacrificial, compassionate, faithful, brave, dutiful, and loyal.

We were born to be the heroes of our own story!  This really made me look at what I value and why.  Loved it!  On a side note, Lee was just a joy to get to know.  He is extremely well spoken and charismatic.  He makes you instantly feel like an old friend.  

MotherReader 's Pam Coughlan was up next to discuss some basics of blogging and getting yourself out there.  Somehow I didn't manage to snap a photo of the lovely Pam!  Bummer...just trust me, she is super cute and super knowledgeable on all things blog related!

She shared ways to get connected as well as lists of book awards.  Great stuff!

Next I attended the panel on Blogging Middle Grade with Katy, Charlotte, and Melissa.

The greatest one liner from this session was easily, "In middle grade, every kid is a different target audience."  I had never really thought about it like that!  Needless to say, diversity permeated all our discussions this weekend!





Just like the others, the last panel was great. Panelists included Sheila, Jen, Sarah, Lee, and Leila.

Highlights:

There are no gatekeepers to blogging!
And...the much more touchy-feely thought that kidlitcon = kindred spirits.  Awww.  (But it's totally true!)




Saturday Night:

(I'm the cheesy one...)

(I'm the serious one...)

(I'm the short one...)

And when all was said and done, I got to see my oldest friend and her sweet family!