Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book Conference Savvy

The Annual Conference for the Book was held here in Oxford this past weekend. As part of the Conference, each year several groups in our community (namely, the Literacy Council, Square Books, the University of Mississippi, and the Junior Auxiliary) pull together to host two children's authors. In addition to giving every fifth and ninth grader in the city of Oxford and Lafayette County a free copy of the author's book, the students get to hear the author speak in person. That's over 1,000 kids getting free books!!!!

Here's our packed house of fifth graders!!

I have been the chairman of the fifth grade part of the Book Conference for the past three years, and this year, I handed the reins over to someone else. I had such a great time helping with the conference instead of having to worry about whether someone's shuttle showed up or if the powerpoint was set up properly. I missed being intimately involved, but it was blissful to sit back and enjoy everything.

The author for the fifth graders this year was none other than the wonderful Ingrid Law whose first novel Savvy won a Newbery Honor. Her book is an incredible magical tale
of talking tattoos, hurricanes, and special gifts. Katie McKee, a University of Mississippi professor who introduced Ingrid Law, described Savvy as "an extraordinary story of embracing your individuality." Ingrid's "tall tale" (as she described it) is full of crazy words and beautiful language. The fifth grade teachers have had a blast reading her book with the students--my daughter's teacher had them pick out as many fun, kooky words as they could find in each chapter and try to define them on their own. We're talking words like "shilly shally" and "jim jam" and "easy peasy."

Ingrid gave a wonderful talk to a packed house of excited readers. She talked about the process of getting published (including the rejections), her process of writing and her love of rhythmic language. She described how her older sister read aloud to her and how a love of books has shaped her life. She explained the importance of research--and many of the kids were shocked to learn that "looking stuff up on your computer" is the same thing as "research"! She also talked about how important revision, courage and imagination are to the writing process. Ingrid is such an inspiration!

Here we are having a little picnic at Rowan Oak which is Faulkner's home.

Stay tuned for more conference info--including a post about the ninth grade author, Watt Key, who wrote Alabama Moon.


I just looked over at Ingrid's blog, and she's got a great post up about the conference. Check it out--I forgot to tell you about the t-shirts!!!


Lindsey Leavitt said...

Yay! I can't wait to go to Oxford. Do I need to wear pearls? I feel like I should wear pearls.
And dang. That is a lot of kids. And a lot of books.

Solvang Sherrie said...

How cool that every kid got a book -- those kids are lucky! Ingrid Law was one of my favorite speakers last summer at SCBWI-LA -- where I met you guys! Yay!

Katie said...

Oh it was so much fun! I LOVE hearing Ingrid talk about her process - it's so involved. She and her daughter actually drove the same course that Mibs takes in the book.

And Lindsey, you are welcome to wear pearls :-) haha!

storyqueen said...

Gotta tell you, eating lunch on a little white table in front of Faulkner's house....well, y'all must rank pretty high in the "living life right department."


Little Ms J said...

I love that your community is so invested in writing, writers and books. I so want a field trip to Oxford!

Katie said...

It's pretty cool, isn't it? PLEASE come see us! We'd love to host some fellow writers :-)

Lisa and Laura said...

You guys are made of fabulousity. Seriously. In the immortal worlds of that football player James Van Der Beek played in Varsity Blues: "I want your life."

That is all.

I want a trip to Oxford too. Southern Belle Bootcamp needs to happen.

Elana Johnson said...

How very cool! That sounds like such an amazing time -- and look at all those kids! Woot!

Gail said...

Awesome that all the kids got books! Fabulous conference idea. And I want in on that field trip/ writers gathering in Oxford! Just need a ride from Atlanta!

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