Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Amazing Speakers at IRA in Phoenix

The Two Sisters -- Joan Boushey and Gail Moser
I missed hearing them at the Dublin Literacy Conference on Saturday, so I went to their session on Monday morning! (I was completely absorbed in their talk -- and glad to even have a seat!! -- and I forget to take a picture. I borrowed this one from their Daily 5 website.)

IRA has a special interest group that is similar to NCTE's CLA -- the Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group. They sponsored a session titled Multiple Pathways to Global Literacy: Breaking Boundaries with Literature.

One of the featured speakers was Kashmira Sheth, author of Blue Jasmine, Keeping Corner, and other books featuring Indian characters.

Kadir Nelson spoke about how he became an artist, and how, more recently, he has become an author as well. He told us about a mistake in the painting of Slim Jones on the title page of We Are The Ship, but he made us promise we wouldn't tell, so I'm going to keep my word!

Nikki Grimes was inspiring, mesmerizing, passionate, and (not surprising) poetic. She has a new series of early chapter books coming out in May that looks really fun -- Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel.

Astronaut/Teacher Barbara Morgan did her best to describe for us what it's like to travel 5 miles per second, to see the earth from space (we should call our planet Ocean, not Earth), and to wrap our minds around the wonder that is space: space is all that we don't know.

We ended inspired by Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea. His story of fighting his publisher over the subtitle of his book really sums up his perspective. The publisher wanted Fighting Terrorism One School at a Time, but Greg wanted Promoting Peace One School at a Time. They compromised, and the publisher got their way for the hardback. In the event the hardback didn't do well, they agreed to change the subtitle for the paperback version. The hardback did not do well; the paperback made it to the NYT Bestseller list. It's about perspective, and he understands the importance of focusing on the goal he wants to ultimately achieve -- it's about the schools and it's about the possibility for peace that comes when we educated the children of the world...especially the girls.

The other exciting thing that happened at this conference was that the list of NCTE/CLA Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts for 2009 (comprised of 30 2008 books) was chosen! Stay tuned for details!!


  1. "The publisher wanted Fighting Terrorism One School at a Time, but Greg wanted Promoting Peace One School at a Time."

    I love this anecdote -- thank you for passing it along, and let's hear it for the paperback version.

  2. Very cool. Thanks for sharing with those of us who couldn't be there.

    But I STILL wanna know Kadir's secret!

  3. I would have loved to have been there!

  4. Anonymous1:03 PM

    Thanks for sharing! I felt like I was in your pocket!


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