Saturday, September 26, 2009

18 things i learned today at the national book festival

1) judy blume is 70.

2) i want to look like judy blume when i am 70.

3) as a tween judy blume did all of the exercises margret does in are you there god, it's me, margret. apparently they worked. is it too late to start them at 28?

4) fudge's character was developed after blume's son, who took his dinner on the floor under the table like fudge. she reports he is now a well adjusted adult who eats at the table.

5) when asked how teachers could inspire their students to read, judy blume spoke of the accelerated reader program with the same passion educators use to speak about the evils of no child left behind.

6) judy blume still remembers in vivid detail a time she was laughed at in first grade for reading the wrong word out loud. the memories our children make in our classes stay with them forever. no pressure.

7) trixie, mo willem's daughter, is just as adorable in real life as she is in the books.

8) hearing mo willems read an elephant and piggie book is one of the best life experiences ever.

9) i heart mo and the fact he believes children's books are meant to be shouted, devoured, and acted out.

10) i heart mo and the fact he explained to his young crowd before taking questions, "a question is something you do not know the answer to. 'i have a pony' is not a question. you know that already". not only am i stealing that to use with first graders, but i can think of people in college seminars who could have used that advice.

11) mo's response to "i want to be a writer someday" from young children. "no, you already are a writer. you want to be published. the only difference between you and me is that i have to give 15% to some guy named shelley".

12) sharon creech's new book, the unfinished angel, is based on a short story her two year old granddaughter told her years ago that went, "once upon a time in spain there was an angel. and the angel was me." (or something like that)

13) the angel's strange syntax with the english language is from creech's own mixed up language confusion when she was living in switzerland for a year and was bouncing between speaking english and italian. i love that she allowed her real-life mixed up english to be portrayed in her book. it makes me think of our little english language learners who also write "the car red" in their stories.

14) lois lowery didn't realize that people would read the giver and assume jonas died. (a whole post is coming on this later at some point...) she had to write the next two novels just to show that he lived.

15) lois lowery is a very patient person because when someone asked "do you wish you lived in the giver?" she did not slap them across the face. the rest of us in the audience all gasped at this sad, literal reader who must be spending his entire life missing the broader themes in books.

16) after spending time with 4 year olds jon scieszka (author of the true story of the three little pigs) compared 4 year olds with alzheimer's patients on acid because everything they see is new, and they are very, very excited about it. he, incidentally, said he does not ever want to teach pre-k.

17) a gray, rainy day does not dampen the washington area's spirits when it comes to coming out and celebrating books.

18) i have the best husband in the world as he patiently spent the afternoon with me at my favorite dc event when his beloved braves were beating the pants off the nationals across town.

*sigh* i love reading. i love books. i love being around other readers just as excited as i am about books.

in a few days you can stream all of the authors' talks on the library of congress webpage. i highly recommend sharing mo's thoughts on writing with your class, and letting them experience an elephant and piggie book read the way it is intended to be read. listen to judy blume to see the passion behind her accelerated reader beliefs (who knew!) and her perfect response to the question on race. listen to sharon creech read aloud in the voice of the snarky unfinished angel.

happy reading!

1 comment:

Sneaker Teacher said...

Sounds like so much fun! I heat Mo's books too! My first graders always loved to read about elephant and piggy.