The festival boasted panel discussions by illustrators, poetry, publishing tips, and over 100 Ohio authors! Twenty-four of those authors were children's/middle grade/young adult.
In the exhibitors' hall, I reintroduced myself to the amazing Margaret Peterson Haddix, who remembered her visit to my intermediate school library when the Shadow Children series was new. I volunteered that I wrote now, and she graciously took my business card. Connect and share with other authors...the famous ones are usually uber nice.
Marlane Kennedy, Margaret's booth mate, shared her new series DISASTER STRIKES and the fact that she'd written for 14 years before her debut book ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN took off. (Persistence pays off. Great ideas that resonate w/kids -disasters- pay off in a series. Each is set in a different locale and has diverse characters, too.) I am studying the 1st one for clues on structure.
I also met Dr. Kevin Cordi, professional storyteller, professor, and co-director for the Columbus Area Writing Project at OSU. I am already devouring his newest book, PLAYING WITH STORIES. In this craft book for writers, educators and storytellers, Kevin says we forget to play with our work. He has tons of exercises to open writers up to "what if's" and different ways to approach our stories before we even commit them to paper.
|Janet w/Choose to Read Ohio Poster|
|M.Anne Touvell, Meg Brown, and Thurber House volunteer|
I wrapped up the festival by connecting w/ librarian friend Janet Ingraham Dwyer, library consultant at the State Library of Ohio, and the directors of Thurber House. SLO, the Ohioana Library Association, and The Ohio Center for the Book has created wonderful toolkits for Ohio authors' books to be used by educators, families, and caregivers. Janet and I worked together on the teacher toolkits back in 2011. Take a gander at these for ideas for your own teacher toolkits.
The Thurber House is another great Ohio literary stop, home of humorist James Thurber, which hosts literary picnics, featured writers, and writer-in-residence programs, too. I shared my experiences of teaching and writing and pitched an adult class for beginning picture book writers. I followed up this week w/my resume and have my fingers crossed. Even if I don't teach a class there, I know I'll volunteer and get to know this fabulous resource better.
Enjoy festival season and soak up some literary goodness with the GROG. Where are YOU going this year to feed your creative soul? Let us know in the comments.