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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

State conferences

You cannot be a successful professional in total isolation for long periods of time. You can withdraw briefly, but you must stay connected to grow, stretch, and change.  Are you a member of your state school library association? Most state joining fees are very low. The state organization offers workshops geared to your specific needs. The state organization works with government officials, department of education personnel, and the people who provide the funding and make the rules within your state. Why not be involved?

I’m currently at the Tennessee Association of School Librarians TASL conference. Great conference organized by a slew of volunteers including Lynn Caruthers, Margaret Hausauer, Bruce Hester, Brenda Moriarty, Becky Jackman, Kaye Grant and many, many more! Our speakers are delightful. The topics for break out sessions are SPOT ON for what we need. Every LMS in Tennessee should be here. If your state offers a conference, get there. Be there. Participate.

Yesterday I listened to authors/illustrators Pam Flowers, Mike Wimmer, Ronda Friend, Cynthia Lord, and Anna Myers. Today I’ll hear Judy Sima, Kathleen Baxter and Steven Layne.

Pam Flowers moved me to tears with her courageous story of traveling alone along the 2500 miles of the Arctic circle with her sled dogs (especially Big-Enough Anna). Pam presents to schools and I wish I had her coming to my school on Monday morning. She is that moving and inspirational. I cannot wait until Douggie is out.

I heard Mike Wimmer 10 years ago and was delighted to learn he’d be back to TASL. His work remains unbelievable. Have you ever looked at the book Home Run? He shows images and provides the background information I love to learn about the process of illustrating and thinking about how to PAINT THE WORDS. I buy everything that Mike illustrates. It’s that simple. He can take the simplest story and add so much to his illustrations. I can’t wait until his newest on Jackie Robinson  called Stealing Home is out.

Anna Myers gave dramatic booktalks about her historical fiction books. I rushed out to purchase Tulsa Burning, but Stolen by the Sea was sold out. I will need to purchase all of her books. Who knew how interesting John Wilkes Booth was? Or about the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis that killed so many people. Our text books are so incomplete. Thank goodness I can provide quality historical fiction in the library to help my students learn what the government and textbook providers don’t consider important enough. 

I’ll have to blog more tomorrow because I don’t want to miss a moment of socialization with my colleagues.