by Michelle and Wendy
As regular readers will know, we’re pretty big fans of Andersons’ Bookshops around here. One of the best things that Becky and the entire Andersons’ crew does is the annual Children’s Literature Breakfast—usually on Presidents’ Day weekend—with five keynote speakers, dozens of Illinois authors and illustrators, and hundreds of teachers and librarians (and several Albert Whitman people).
Wendy went with three hats—children’s book author, adult book author, and editor—here she is (you can see all the hats, right?):
This year’s keynote speakers were Tim Green (The Big Time: A Football Genius Novel), Kathryn Lasky (Shadow Wolf, Guardians of Ga’Hoole series), Mark Teague (Firehouse!, LaRue Across America), and “Weird” Al Yankovic (When I Grow Up). Also on the roster was Trent Reddy (Words in the Dust), a new author and former soldier who brought us all to tears with his talk about the children he met while on active duty in Afghanistan.
It was a very full morning. Between the keynote speakers, Andersons’ gave us a preview of their favorite books for Spring and the local authors rotated from table to table throughout the morning. All attendees were able to speak directly with at least three local authors. In addition to Wendy, AW authors Janet Nolan (A Father’s Day Thank You), Suzanne Slade (Climbing Lincoln’s Steps), and Glennette Tilley Turner (An Apple for Harriet Tubman) were also there to represent.
And of course, there plenty of shopping opportunities:
It’s always a great experience to talk to teachers, librarians, and other authors. It reminds you how diverse the Chicago area is, and how many different needs for books are out there—some kids are reluctant readers, others are series addicts, and some are seeking out controversial topics. And the range of keynote speakers proved that there is no such thing as a typical children’s author. Talking with Janet Nolan afterwards, she pointed out that everyone who spoke was so uniquely him- or herself, each one entertaining and insightful and funny in his or her own way, not trying to fit some kind of “Important Author” mold.
Wendy confesses that the second the event ended and the booksigning began, she made a beeline for Weird Al’s table!
See you next year, Andersons’ Breakfast!