NCTE 2012: Friends, Books, Networking, and Nerdybooklovers

I spent last weekend in Las Vegas with a whole bunch of fantastic friends, colleagues and nerdybookclubers. Also known as the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference.  It was amazing. My preservice teachers often ask me for advice about staying current in the field, what to read, how to stay inspired, etc. Attending conferences is at the top of my list. While this was a national conference, our local Michigan Council of Teachers of English (held in October) and Michigan Reading Association Conference (held in March) are equally fantastic.

My head is still swimming with all of the books that I looked at, sessions that I attended, and people I spoke with – not to mention the constant sensory bombardment that is Las Vegas.

Highlights included:

  • presenting with my good friends and colleagues Lynne Watanabe & Dr. Laura Jimenez and using picture books and graphic novels across grade levels. Thanks to all who attended!
  • Running into nerdy friends Donalyn Miller, Paul Hankins, Cindy Minnich, John Scovill, and more in the exhibits
  • attending the Nerdy Book Club get together on Friday evening and talking to tweeps and nerdy friends in person
  • Seeing The Beatles Love show by Cirque de Soleil
  • more exhibits, more books, more nerdy friends
  • Seeing the Eagles come down the escalator for their sound check but not having the nerve to say anything (yes, those Eagles)
  • Meeting with Teri Lesesne (a.k.a. Professor Nana) in person
  • Attending the Children’s Literature Master Class on Fantasy with Dr. Barbara Kiefer and author John Stephens
  • Talking with illustrator Melissa Sweet
  • Getting an advanced review copy of P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia – the follow-up to One Crazy Summer.
  • Relaxing in the hot tub
  • Telling Kristin Cashore about the amazing discussions my children’s literature classes had about her book Graceling – they talked feminism, power, and identity!
  • ALAN Author Meet & Greet on Sunday evening –  I talked with Kristin Cashore, Rebecca Stead, Deborah Hopkinson, Jo Knowles, and Rae Carson at the same time. I told them I felt like a 12-year-old girl meeting Justin Bieber. Thankfully they said I had it more together than that.
  • ALAN Book Fest on Monday with 3 friends & nerdy folks
  • Pizza & Wine dinner in our pjs, in the room, with 2 of my closest friends on Monday evening.
  • but the best was probably having people ask me about my dissertation and respond with questions that made me clarify my thinking. More on this to follow…

There are many more people that I talked with that I didn’t mention here – thanks to each and every one of you for your smiling faces, love of books, passion for teaching, and curious questions.