Monday, March 1, 2010

Hubbs Conference musings

I attended the Hubbs Children's Literature Conference (link below) this weekend in St. Paul, MN. It's a lovely, one day event which brings in some brilliant children's book authors as key-notes. Mostly aimed at educators, a few of us illustrators and writers stray in as well. Generous benefactors- the Hubbs family- have made this gathering possible for nearly 20 years. Some Februarys, the weather is too iffy to drive up from Iowa City, but this year, sunshine all the way. Ironically, it was the key-note himself, illustrator Chris Raschka, who got stuck in New York due to snow! The very excellent John Coy ( graciously stepped in, and along with Phyllis Root (, it was an inspired morning. Root is a passionate advocate of Story, in all its manifestations. Root emphasized how children's books should invite a child to read, and "perform" in word choice and page-turn and read-aloud rhythm. Coy's presentation held more of a cautionary message of the challenges of creating readers out of boys. His theory is that current educational ways have sanitized much of the best parts of school (no healthy way to express competition; recess (if it exists at all) is too "safe"; too much testing and not enough time to move and wiggle like normal kids!) Coy also thought books with subjects boys are truly interested in are rare (which made me think and reconsider some of my own works-in-progress...) Both speakers talked of the inportance of knowing our young audience, whether we be teacher or author, writer or illustrator. And what a pivital time it is in the world of children's literature, technically and socially and culturally. Amen to that. Coy ended with a great poem to help guide us on with our passions, in whatever field we may involve our lives in.

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~ William Stafford ~


Moose said...

Love that poem! Tail Wags & Happy warmer weather.

Claudia said...

Thanks Moose! The glaciers are receding...

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