Monday, October 19, 2009

An Introvert Goes to the Kidlitosphere Conference

by Jennifer R. Hubbard

I was privileged to attend the Third Annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Washington, DC, on October 17, coordinated by Pam Coughlan (MotherReader).

I arrived the day before, to take advantage of the Library of Congress tours (both the regular tour and the Children’s Literature Center, as well as a sneak peek at some rare books). Our group of book-lovers was so reverent, so interested in the architectural symbolism, so fascinated by the grandeur of the main reading room, that the tour guide wanted to adopt us. Yes, we were the people that ask how you get a reading card not out of idle curiosity, but because we think we might actually apply for one. We were the group that pored over rare copies of Aesop’s fables to compare the illustrations and printing styles, the group that asked whether that rare copy of The Wizard of Oz originally came with a dust jacket. A good time was had by all.

Oh, yes, and there was a conference too.

If you want a Tweet-by-Tweet account, Gregory K. Pincus posted a transcript of the October 17 tweets from the conference. Several of us also wrote blog posts A Chair, a Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy, Galleysmith, Dog-eared and Well-read, Charlotte's Library, Writer Jenn on the much-awaited FTC session, so I won’t repeat that here. As MotherReader said, the rest of the conference moved thematically from the “inner blogger” to the blogging community to the reading community at large. The sessions focused on questions bloggers should ask themselves (such as, What is my blogging mission?); ethical questions (FTC aside, what should I disclose about the sources of my review copies, and other connections I may have with writers?); authors’ and publishers’ approaches to blogging (What do we have to say and how can we best say it? How do we wear all these different hats?); social networking (How can my blog become part of larger conversations? What do I bring to the table?); and literacy (What can we, as writers and readers, contribute to the cause of literacy?).

On that last topic of literacy, Ernestine Benedict of RIF gave this staggering statistic: Twenty-nine million children still don’t have access to books outside of school. But Laurel Snyder jumped right in with a brainstorming idea about trying to hold mass read-ins, and the enthusiasm in the room was delightful to behold.

It was a full and absorbing day, and this introvert was flagging a bit by the cocktail hour. However, at dinner, the conversation revolved around books, the easiest subject in the world to engage a writer--even an introverted one.

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Jennifer R. Hubbard's first novel, The Secret Year will be published by Viking in January 2010. (You betcha we'll be launching her here!) She also writes short fiction for literary magazines, is an avid walker/ hiker, and is deeply committed to the study and practice of chocolate. Jennifer is also a card-carrying introvert and can be found incognito on the streets of Philadelphia.

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**News** from Robin on Day One in Katy Texas, where she is starting her two week long school visit tour. Her message? "T o o t i r e d t o t e x t." Oh, dear! I believe the poor thing's first session today was 340 students, followed by an equally ginormous amount this afternoon. I'll keep you posted on how she's doing--

We have a raffle winner for author Laurie Helgoe's Introvert Power-- congrats to S A Putnam! If you'll email me here, I will get that signed and sent off to you.

Lastly, if you have a new book coming out this year and you'd like it considered for a Shrinking Violet Launch, don't forget to let us know. We'd love to shine our "softlight" on you! Promise it's painless. Please send me all your books specs, your official launch date, a brief bio, photo, and what you plan on doing to celebrate your launch day.

Jennifer, thank you so much for this excellent write-up of the Kidlitosphere Conference. Hope you are having a terrific recharge session back at home.

Have a seriously swell week, friends!

Mary Hershey


jama said...

I had the great pleasure of meeting Jenn at the conference! Wonderful write-up :)!

PJ Hoover said...

Very awesome post! Any idea where the conference will be next year? Austin?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jama and PJ!
The location of the next conference had not been selected as of Oct. 17, but they were hoping to announce it soon.

Jenn H.
(posting as Anon because of OpenID problems)

Sondy Eklund said...

I enjoyed meeting you at Kidlitcon, Jennifer! Don't you think we introverts are so much more interesting? :)

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