In a retro way, I pulled together a document of names, blogs, and web addresses of the KidLitCon attendees. Looking over, I can say that I interacted with every person on that list. And that's a pretty cool thing.
So Friday, after an overpriced slice of pizza, Jen, Sarah, Charlotte and I headed over to the iSchool for the pre-con Meet and Greet. Kelly, Kimberly, and Leila were waiting expectantly for us. (Leila had even sent a tweet into the void, "@MotherReader where are you?") Set-up was easy, and we soon had piles of ARC's from Bloomsbury and bound books from First Second Books, along with ARC's and books that our attendees were sharing. The book table was a real draw, as everyone grabbed the titles they had missed and gave enthusiastic recommendations.
After everyone was loaded down with armfuls of books, we headed to a local Mexican restaurant. Through the evening, I had Jen, Sarah, and Lee Wind on my right and we chatted about family stuff and overloaded schedules and our own insecurities. It was deep. On my left, I had author Molly Blaisdell to talk writing and college applications. In front of me I had chips, tacos, and a beer. It was a good night.
Back at the hotel, we hung out at the tech station near the bar with a series of laptops and iPads to show each other books, apps, and apparently Candy Crush. I finally got to catch up with Melissa and talk kids and colleges. There was more beer.
St David's was so perfect, and inexpensive as well. (Contact me if you want info for an Austin event at a fraction of the price, and twice and nice.) I made sure that local do-everything librarian Jen Bigheart and local author Chris Barton met the facilities manager, because people need to know about this place!
Cynthia Letich Smith gave a wonderful keynote speech, with great advice, humor, and inspiration. And she gave away books too! I loved Lee Wind's talk about diversity in our world, and how that can and needs to be reflected in children's and young adult literature. I was inspired by Maria Burel's story of how writing a blog ended up connecting her with a friend who became her agent. The panel discussion on blogging of Sheila Ruth, Jennifer Donovan, Sarah Stevenson, Lee Wind and Leila Roy led to the great words round-up of KidLitCon: Literacy. Connection. Community. Opportunity. And my fav, Kindred Spirits.
After the official sessions (which I've chosen not to describe, but are done well on other blogs), we went to Scholtz Garten for dinner. And beer. Of course beer. Here I got to chat bookstores, Cybils, and atrocious books with Maureen, Melissa, Charlotte and Paula. Rosemond Cates gathered the stragglers of the group together for a photo, before some headed out to a local bookstore and others back to the hotel bar. Guess which group I was in?
Actually, I didn't drink at the bar, but enjoyed the procession of characters in the lobby which included attendees of a Marine Ball, a bachelorette party, a bunch of band roadies, possibly some hookers, and that guy that played Darryl on The Office. I'm not kidding.
I got in one more outing before Jen took me to the airport, and that was brunch at the Blue Dahlia Bistro which had food so lovely that I took a picture. But instead, I'll share the one of our little Breakfast Club.
As we walked back, I was able to talk with Sherry Early, who I met for the first time that weekend. She confirmed the feeling I'd had all weekend, that the smaller scale had made it so easy for people to really get to know each other. I know that I was glad to have met her and another long-time blogger Camille Powell, because KidLitCon came to Texas. Overall, a great time.
I'll be rounding-up posts at KidLitosphere Central, so look for more details - or any details - about sessions there. Thanks again to all who came and all who supported KidLitCon 2013.