- There was no noise outside my hotel room. When does that ever even happen? They must have had good insulation.
- I got to meet and talk with lots of other pre-published authors, which is always fun and informative.
- I heard agents speak in various capacities - on a diversity panel, on a breakout session focused on the agent process, and on a breakout session about making your book the best it can be. It was all very helpful. I even got a little one on one time to talk with an agent I admire.
- Alan Gratz had a wonderful session for beginning writers laying out all the nitty-gritty stuff we need to know.
- I felt like a rock star groupie talking with the published authors that were there like Kelly Starling Lyons, Alan Gratz and Pat Cummings. They were funny, gracious, helpful and down to earth.
For all those reasons, I came home pumped about writing! And just this week, I finished my first draft of my second picture book. I sent it out a few minutes ago to a newly formed online critique group (we all attended the Children's Book Academy Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books online course this summer), and I hope to get feedback to make it better.
I'm also pumped about a session I presented yesterday at the North Carolina Indian Education Summit. The Summit is organized by the North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education, of which I am a member.
I spoke about how to evaluate children's literature for American Indian bias. Although in some ways I was speaking to the choir (mostly American Indian audience), I think it is helpful to talk about identity and show how literature is linked to America's insidious social understanding of what 'Indian' means. Texts that promote stereotypes are the Land O'Lakes lady and the R******s mascot (I can't bring myself to type the word) in words instead of in visual images. We also used a tool to help evaluate books and looked at wonderful alternative books that schools and parents can and should use. We used the Text Resources pages of the NC SACIE's new Culturally Responsive Instructional Resources to do this work.