About 70 kidlitters attended yesterday’s conference here in Crystal City, Virginia. For many of us, it was the first KidLitCon, but it most definitely won’t be the last.
The camaraderie, the open exchange of ideas, and the sounds of “Oh! I love your blog. It is so nice to meet you in person …” from all corners of the room made it most welcoming event. Although children’s literature and blogging were the centerpiece, this is a very sociable group, and there were plenty of conversations about football, a photo of Susan Kusel’s adorable baby (now two weeks old), the end of Red Sox baseball for the year, television shows, and of course the lovely DC weather!
Just before the day began, I happened to catch a sidebar conversation where a panelist felt “awkard” about being on a panel because “I don’t know very much.” Mary Lee Hahn’s (A Year of Reading) response captured it all …
What we all know together is huge.
That’s exactly what happened. Within minutes of the end of the presentations, Greg Pincus (Gottabook) pulled together a transcript of all of the tweets. Thanks to Laurel Snyder (Laurel Snyder), Maureen Kearney of Confessions of a Bibliovore, Liz Burns (A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy), Wendy Burton of Six Boxes of Books, Carol Wilcox (Carol Wilcox), Laura Lutz (Pinot and Prose), Clara Gillow (Clara Gillow Clark), Pam Bachorz of PamBachorz, Sara Lewis Holmes of Read Write Believe, Wendy Stephens (Wendy on the Web), Sarah Rettger of Archimedes Forgets, and Paula Chase (Paula’s Jort Too) made that transcript possible.
The great thing about having the transcript is that it makes it easy to recap the conference. The bad news is that it makes it harder to create original content of the “take aways.” Rather than recap, I’m going to (a) link to the folks who are building out the transcript for more robust summaries; and (b) parse a couple things here. As I work my way through my homework list, I will share what I’ve learned, too. Here are the first two.
Throughout the day, everyone was talking about the importance of leaving our own blogging “house” to visit others. Thanking people for visiting your blog is nice, but you need to visit them AND comment, too. It moves away from ‘it’s all about me” to building a stronger community.
Not that long ago in the Kidlitosphere, the emphasis of the discussions really centered on a love of children’s books and exploring the “stories behind the story” with authors and illustrators. Jen Robinson’s panel at the end of the day was tangible representation of the idea that connecting books with kids and paying forward our passion is also an important part of what we do.
On the panel, Gina Montefusco of PBS Parents and Booklights, Ernestine Walls Benedict, representing Carol Rasco from RIF, talked about ways we need to move beyond computers and blogs to reach the 25 million US kids who don’t have access to books beyond school. As you may have heard, Laurel Snyder proposed a “crazy spectacle” where in all 50 states, people fill 20 malls, and read with kids all at the same time. We all loved the idea, and as Ernestine says,
You need to imagine it, then claim it.
We are claiming it! So stay tuned for more information. Like Mary Lee’s comment at the beginning of the day, Ernestine’s comments were the perfect end to the day …
Whether you want to write a book for children, build a platform as an author or blogger, or share your knowledge … claim it! It is possible, and this is the group to help you along.