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27 April 2013 @ 05:47 am
Get into the kitchen  
Take some authors: a Libba Bray, a Clare Vanderpool, a Rebecca Stead, a Jon Scieszka, a Sharon Flake, a Rene Saldana, perhaps a Kathi Appelt and a Tom Angleberger. Toss in some editors, a few publishers, and booksellers. Do NOT forget to add the books, please. Into this rareified mix, add the educators (teachers and librarians) who will agitate and inflate and combine the ingredients. Blend. Serve to kids.

Okay, the dinners here at TLA have obviously taken their toll (house?) on me. Being able to talk and listen to authors and publishers and editors and educators has given rise (dough metaphor) to some new ideas about kids and books and bringing them together. Including readers theater in read aloud time (appetizers), run and gun booktalks where you throw out as many titles and brief descriptions as possible in as short a time as possible (amuse bouche?), then giving time to read by adding in eBooks and audiobooks and GNs and picture books and more (main course), and throwing in some up close time with authors (dessert). VOILA, we are feeding not only the minds but the hearts and souls of kids, building those "wild readers" Donalyn Miller talks about.


As I sip my coffee in the pre-dawn hours on the final day of TLA 13, I cannot help but think about takeaways (doggie bags?). Yes, there are the books. Despite the fact that I have so many books at home already, I have two bags more of ARCs plus a few autographed books that will never get weeded. I have the impassioned discussions about books and reading and state tests and new curriculum and technology and all the other topics that not only were the subject of sessions during the conference but that spilled over (and what would a meal be without a spill or two?) into the halls and coffee shops afterward. I also carry back with me the faces of the students who are in my online classes, the ones I have met here. I carry laughter, too, and a few tears from the talk with friends and colleagues. Most importantly for me at least is the renewed sense of HOPE (VISION) that conferences like this instill in me. Here are educators who will take books and stories back with them next week into classrooms and libraries, who will share them with the kids, who will convey to the kids that passion about books and reading.

Part of why this works is that there is no set recipe. Each person here at TLA takes back a unique set of ingredients and will create her or his own masterpiece. At the heart: books, books, books.
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