105 Ways to Give a Book

KidLitCon Report: Part I

The weather sucked. I think we can all agree on that. It didn’t affect much at KidLitCon except for the scheduled Library of Congress tours, where the rain made for bad traffic and delayed arrivals of our out-of-town guests. It also made some of our DC natives look outside and decide against trudging through the rain to join us at a local institution. It was a shame, because those who came for the tours were all blown away.

It did start out slowly, with a tour guide who preferred to give great detail on a piece of artwork rather than give us time with the original Thomas Jefferson Library. But we still enjoyed walking the halls of the Jefferson Building, peering down into the impressive reading room, and strolling past the Gutenberg Bible. The real stuff began when we went to the Children’s Literature Center. There, Jacqueline Coleburn showed us some rare children’s books from the collection. We saw a first edition of The Wizard of Oz, original sketches by James Marshall for Fox Be Nimble, and an early primer book.

It was hard to take good pictures without the flash (which might hurt the books over time), so I didn’t take many photos. I’m partial to this children’s book from the 1600s, which is A Token for Children: Being an exact account of the conversion, holy and exemplary lives and joyful deaths of several young children, by James Janeway. Joyful deaths. Yep, they don’t write them like they used to. Click on the picture to enlarge if you don’t believe me. (Though it should be said — and was said by our host — that such books were made to help in accepting death, since so many children didn’t live to adulthood.)

We also spent time walking around the Children’s Literature Center, which is a small library and research center as opposed to the holdings of every children’s book ever published. However, our host was kind enough to bring over a few of our KidLitCon attendees’ books for display. Here you’ll see Joan Holub along with some of her titles. Sara Lewis Holmes was excited to see her Letters from Rapunzel displayed as well.

Our group was also treated to a visit to see books from the Rosenwald collection of rare books. The curator of this collection, Daniel De Simone, had a display of several illustrated books starting from a title from the 1400s! Then, using the Aesop’s fable of the city mouse and the country mouse, he showed us the changes in woodblock printing and artwork over time and nationality. I believe the one in the photograph is from Italy in the 1500s. I know, I should have been writing that sort of thing down, but I was too mesmerized by these old, rare books right in front of me. I just found at least two more of the books we saw in the details of the Library of Congress exhibition. Our host was very knowledgeable about the collection and captivated us with the stories behind these rare books. We were all sorry to leave, and it’s possible that one of us hid behind a bookshelf where an old Charlotte’s Web was held.

After the Library of Congress tour, we went our separate ways, knowing we’d meet up again at dinner along with thirty or so of our blogging friends. We had two large table at Arlington’s Tortoise and Hare, quickly took over a third, and then proceeded to make more room on the corners and ends as bloggers continued to arrive. People were introduced around, and where the proper names might draw polite smiles the blog names often brought gleeful squeals. Biblio File! LibrariYAn! Miss Rumphius! The conversation was lively and loud, ending only when it looked as if we would soon be overtaken by a lively and loud band. The folks who weren’t quite done for the night headed to the hotel bar, for what Liz Burns would soon dub by the hashtag #drunkkidlitcon. But even though the topics of funny tweets, Girl Scouts, Facebook friends, and of course books seemed like they could go on forever, we did clear out at a reasonable hour, knowing that a special KidLitCon breakfast awaited us at 7:00 a.m. and that bacon wasn’t going to eat itself.

I’ll continue with the day of KidLitCon tomorrow. For now, leave me a comment if you’ve got a post about the conference and I’ll do a round-up at the end of the week.

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12 comments:

Sara said...

Pam, this is awesome. Now I know exactly what I saw at the Library of Congress. :) It was amazing, wasn't it? Thank you again for setting that up.

I blogged a bit about the author panel, mostly as a way to have a place to keep the conversation going about author/blogging concerns and questions. Here's the link: http://saralewisholmes.blogspot.com/2009/10/conversation-continues-kidlit-bloggers.html

holly cupala said...

Thank you for the tour walkthrough and pics - how amazing it would have been to see the Gutenberg Bible and rare children's book collection. I look forward to the roundup!

Michelle said...

Pam I wish I'd been able to get in to go to on the LOC tour by the sound it was fabulous. Work always ends up getting in the way doesn't it?

Joan Holub said...

I second Sara's thanks to you for setting up the LOC tour, Pam. It was such fun getting that inside peek. I could have spent an entire day browsing those shelves. And it was so nice of Sybille to go to the trouble of finding books by some of us visiting authors. Way above and beyond the call. Now I'm off to visit Sara's link.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for the all you did to make the conference and tours happen--and for this detailed account!

I did a shorter write-up at the Shrinking Violets blog:
http://shrinkingvioletpromotions.blogspot.com/2009/10/introvert-goes-to-kidlitosphere.html

(I'm posting this comment as Anonymous because OpenID is failing me today, but I am:
Jenn Hubbard, aka writerjenn.)

Melissa said...

Or how about just a comment? I'm sorry I missed the LOC tour; sounds like it was fabulous. Glad to have made dinner and #drunkkidlitcon, though.

ReadingTub said...

Thanks again for a wonderful weekend, Pam. It was nice to revisit the Library of Congress. Those particularly tours and the chance to see history close up really made the event extra special.

6p0120a5f35956970c said...

Oh I'm so sorry I couldn't do the LC tour! One of these days...

Thanks again for all your hard work - I had such a good time and learned so much! I owe you a drink next time you get to Baltimore!

Bill said...

Pam, thanks for continuing to organize all of us! The conference was great. Karen and I have a couple of posts over at Literate Lives!

Sondy said...

Here's my long summary of the conference:
http://sonderbooks.com/blog/?p=832

It was fantastic! Thanks, Pam!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Thanks for the updates! It's almost like having been there with you. :~)

Camille said...

I was hoping for a "proceedings of Kidlitcon#3." Your description of the Library Congress tour was WONDERFUL! Thank you, thank you for sharing the tour. [sighs, happily]