For three days last week I was at the Plum Creek Children’s Literacy Festival in Seward, Nebraska. The festival is held each year on the campus of Concordia University, and this year more than 7,000 people attended.
I gave three talks to children on Thursday, three talks to children on Friday, and three talks to teachers and media specialists on Saturday. Whew! I also attended a dinner/auction for the festival’s sponsors, where I talked briefly about myself. I enjoyed hearing Richard Peck speak at the Sat. luncheon. The other festival presenters were Andrew Clements, Robin Brickman, Ted and Betsy Lewin and Laura Numeroff. It’s always fun to get to know my fellow authors.
I don’t know how many books I signed, but there were stacks and stacks of them when I arrived and none left at the end of the last session. The folks at Concordia were warm and welcoming. On Wed. night we were introducing ourselves and shaking hands. By Sat. we were good friends, hugging goodby.
I stayed in a guest house on campus which was well stocked with goodies, including coffee and chocolates, which I consider essential food groups.
There were many highlights. I met a woman who, as a high school student, had acted in a play that I wrote. I met a mother and daughter who had been e-mailing me for a long time and who drove from Iowa to hear me talk. I heard wonderful reports from librarians who are using my books to encourage reluctant readers.
I loved making new friends, and talking with teachers and librarians, but the best part of the conference was the children who were excited about books. They are the ones I write for and it was extremely satisfying to hear their questions about my work and to bask in their enthusiasm.