Monday, April 30, 2012

Virginia Hamilton Conference, Plus Revisiting Kent State

After blissfully booking it in Nothampton, MA, I was home long enough to unpack my suitcase and then pack it again.

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Where was I headed next? Why, here . . .

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I was in Kent, Ohio for the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth . . .

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Fun Fact: I lived in James Thurber's childhood home in Columbus, Ohio for a month when I was the Thurber House Children's Writer-in-Residence!!!

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Oops. Digression noted. Back to the conference! It began on Thursday evening with a food-filled reception . . .

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(Above: That's E.B. Lewis sharing dessert with his favorite Peep.)

It was followed by dessert and storytelling, and a speech by the amazing Alma Flor Ada . . .

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After our book signing, we got to meet Arnold Adoff, author and husband of Virginia Hamilton . . .

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Since there's alway room for more food, middle school teacher Dawn Sullivan, E.B. and I piled into teen services librarian Christina Getrost's car . . .

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Then we headed to a famous local hang out -- Ray's . . .

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As you might guess, we discussed literature, physics, and whether the man at the next table was Jeff Bridges or Mickey Rourke. Actually, Dawn and E.B. debated this. Christina and I debated over which was better, the regular fries or the sweet potato ones. (The man was neither Mickey nor Jeff, and we were at an impasses over the fries.)

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(Photos not to scale.)

The next morning I was driven to the conference by Christina in her Star Wars Millennium Falcon Saturn complete with mini space vehicles hanging from the window . . .

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Kent State Dean Stanley T. Wearden welcomed us and I delivered the opening keynote . . .

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(I always find it interesting that like birds on a wire, people in auditoriums spread out so they are equidistant from one another. This happens in elevators, too, but never on airplanes. There is always someone sitting next to me.)

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Alma was presented with the 14th Annual Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, which she generously offered to share with Peepy. . .

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The other recipient of the award was Julius Lester, who was Skyped in for his acceptance speech . . .

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Later in the day, I visited the May 4 Memorial honoring the students killed and injured at Kent State by the National Guard on May 4, 1970. Perhaps many of you remember this iconic photo. The photographer was a undergrad and it won him a Pulitzer . . .

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During thirteen seconds of carnage and confusion, National Guard members killed four students and injured many others . . .

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Two students died in the parking lot and now there are markers where they fell . . .

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Here's more of the memorial . . .

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In other news, a ten-year old girl read my Kanani stories and was inspired to raise money to help the endangered Hawaiian monk seals. You can read about here HERE.

And here I am talking about Kanani and the monk seals . . .




NEXT BLOG: More conference, more books, some squirrels, and an inside look at this . . .

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