I attended the GCBA Conference last week but have been too busy catching up to post on it before today.
The authors and illustrators featured were Mike Artell, Shonto Begay, Clare Vanderpool, Shannon Nees, and Jennifer Sattler. I’ll only be sharing some notes on Vanderpool and Sattler.
Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery Award for Moon Over Manifest and her most recent book is Navigating Early. My daughter is in 6th grade and has to read books in different genres for her Language Arts class. For her “adventure” pick we chose Navigating Early so I had just read that which was cool. I actually cheated a little because I arrived to the main hall where she was speaking early. She was there setting up her slide show and reviewing her notes. I went up, introduced myself and got her to sign a copy of Moon Over Manifest to my daughter and chatted a bit. So I avoided the huge signing line later. She gave a fun and intelligent talk. The next book she’s working on will take place in the American South.
Jennifer Sattler was there to receive the Georgia Children’s Picture Book Award for her book Sylvie and give a talk. It’s a meaningful award since the students actually choose the book. She was a fun speaker who started off by saying she was probably the only one who didn’t dream of being an author or illustrator as a child. She wanted to be a dentist! But a high school class got her into art. She ended up a painting and drawing professor but when she had kids and they began reading together she realized there were two important sides of herself: the painter and the goofball. Inspired by books like Olivia and I Lost My Bear she got into writing and painting children’s books. This allows her to satisfy both sides of her personality and more than ten books.
This is may favorite conference every year and every year someone is surprised to hear I pay for it out of my own pocket. But I think it’s important to keep up with children’s literature, to hang out with other teachers and librarians as well as academics and hear what’s going on in their classrooms and libraries. Sometimes I get something out of the breakout sessions and sometimes I don’t but I always get something out of the talks given by all the amazing children’s authors and illustrators and all the educators I meet over the weekend. Plus it’s fun to be there when they announce all the new picture book and chapter book nominees!