Tonight was the first get-together at the conference, a meet and greet, followed by a dinner in which Sharon Draper was honored. She spoke with wite, style, eloquence about the power of words — having words — in the lives of young people. You could easily see why she was such a wonderful teacher. As I listened to her — immitating the voices of kids, reading from her works — I thought that we do not really honor black women the same way we do the famous black male public figures. In Sharon you saw that strong, stern, teacher, librarian, mother, novelist, poet who set high standards for young people, took no guff, but saw the person, not the problem. These women knit the community together, brought up the young, saw possibility, if young people were given words, and books, lessons, and goals. This is a felt power not like a speech from a pulpit — a power in doing, in guiding, that is not always seen.
EBMA brings together book publishers and book wholesalers around the issues involved in selling into schools. Ebooks are much in the air here, but in an odd way — the swell in books has been towards single-buyer, all print, retail. So schools have been out of the picture. Indeed, several major houses will not make new books available to ebooks wholesalers — since they have new good and clear policy on file sharing. and yet ebook publishing is coming to schools, somehow, and soon. So the next steps are hard to determine, but much on everyone’s minds.