Monday, September 29, 2008

We're Back from Kidlit08 !

I'm finally home this morning at 10am after flying all night and I couldn't wait to post this blog. Here's how the trip went.

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on Saturday morning and was greeted by a flock of bees on the wall (airport art) how appropriate!

The shuttle to the Sheraton was quite a wait for my anxious soul but I managed to meet up with Nancy and catch Mark Blevis of Just One More Book and his entertaining presentation on using audio and video to communicate online. AKA PODCASTING

Although I had missed Anastasia Suen's lecture for beginning bloggers, Nancy was able to fill me in later. Anastasia is so amazingly personable and multi-talented. If you have the chance to meet her or take one of her classes do so! Mother Reader presented at the same time so we had to catch up with her and get her blogger's tips at the meet and greet session later in the day.

Lunch was the perfect time to socialize and meet the Kidlit community of bloggers, artists and authors.

Even though the waitress somehow lost our club sandwiches, Nancy and I felt satisfied with the food of idea exchange and inspiration at our table. "A talk feast." Some of the faces you see in the photo are YA author Christine Fletcher (Thank you Christine for the signed copy of Ten Cents a Dance : ), blogger librarian Maureen Kearney who writes Confessions of a Bibliovore, authors, Deb Lund and Susan Blackaby and another author whose card I forgot to get- but if you read this please send us an email because we enjoyed meeting you.

After lunch, the adorable, bubbly, pink-haired artist/author Laini Taylor and the exceptional Kidlit blogger, Jen Robinson led a Q&A style discussion on the bridge between authors and bloggers.

Next came Greg Pincus' presentation right out of Comedy Central, which not only gave us new insight on how to promote books and ourselves on the web, but had us all in stitches. I wish I would have snapped a shot of his brother (just as wild) as he was madly twittering away on his laptop. Such enthusiasm and energy these brothers brought to the room!

We caught Sara Zarr's helpful lecture about balancing the personal and the professional on your blog...and then... the party began as the kidlit authors, artists and bloggers set up their books on tables and we all had time to converse casually.

Nancy and I spoke quite a lot about life and kids with picture book author Deb Lund (donning purple 'Mama Monster' hair w/spikes) who gave us each a signed copy of her new book Monsters on Machines, illustrated by Robert Neubecker. Can't wait to review this one! Thank You Deb.

We ordered Pilsners for the happy hour break, then dinner came quick with a tasty buffet ( I went back for 2nds of the lasagna :) !) I think everyone won something at the dinner raffle....some more than others. There was a table of hipsters (you know who you are) who entertained the room with all their winnings. Thanks to all the publishers and booksellers who donated prizes. The raffle money went to buy books for a Portland Children's Hospital program.

Thank you * Jone, Laini and their husbands and support volunteers. You all did such a super job of hosting this event party and organizing the discussion groups.

Reader Girlz hosted a little party at the Columbia Bar and an opening for YA author Holly Cupala's new book A Light That Never Goes Out. Hey I won a cd of music that inspired her writing the book at the raffle plus a bag of purple jellybeans and tea. I heard they kept the party going until past 2:00am. Go! Reader Girlz Go!

Sunday morning we met some Kidlit early-risers for the continental breakfast. It gave us an opportunity to meet some of the folks we hadn't had the chance to talk with the previous day. Then off to Powell's! We caught the MAX downtown with Maureen and I was amazed at the emptiness and cleanliness of the subway. Although we bought tickets, there are no turnstyles in Portland and nobody checks your ticket. They run on good karma. I love this philosophy!

Over the river and through the woods to Powell's Books we go. Bike racks are all over the city- so eco-friendly and creative too. It has to be one of the greatest bookstores on earth and it's no coincidence we bumped into our Kidlit friends, including Jolie Steckly and Deb Lund.

After a few hours in Powell's and a stack of picture books later, we finally managed to make our way out.

OMG! Portland's Cargo is my new favorite store. I want everything in that place and I think I could live in there too. Amazing eye-candy and textiles for the artist's soul.

I remember excitedly running across the street when I spotted Reading Frenzy. It was on my list of Musts and a Must it is. Nancy found a prints by artists Nikki McClure and Kristine Virsis. And I discovered a bond with LA artist Saelee Oh.

Just outside we stumbled upon the Independent Publishing Resource Center and were buzzed in to the 2nd floor by Polly, a super helpful and friendly artist and author/printmaker.

Finnegan's Toys was our last stop to pick up some goodies for the kiddies. I love this toystore and around the corner is Little Finnegan's with the coolest Japanese turtle placemats we've ever seen.

On our way to catch the MAX we noticed the Guild carries good used books but no time for stopping.....

Goodbye Portland! We'll be back soon. And we hope to see all you fabulous Kidlit bloggers in DC next year! Find more blog posts about the conference here at Kidlito8. OK one more post, post link to Mark Blevis' many photos of the conference on FLCKR.


  1. It was nice to meet both you and Nancy, although I'm not sure we actually exchanged names. We sat at the same table for dinner. :)

  2. Hi Annette, We had a great dinner table. I love your website Hope we can meet again and talk kidlit. If not in person then online : )

  3. Hi A, Yes, I do remember you! I wish we had another week to mingle and get to know Everyone as there are still a few folks that I missed. Looking forward to seeing everyone next year ....or sooner!
    PS I LOVE Ladybugs too!!!

  4. Hey Nancy and Kim: I wish we'd have had more of a chance to talk. I look forward to email correspondences about music for children.

  5. Hi Farida- A good discussion about kids books and music would be a lot of fun!

  6. It was so much fun to meet you two, and I hope you like the CD! The two of you were a ray of sunlight in that hotel.

  7. Thank you Holly! I know you will have great success with your first book and all of those to follow!!!

  8. Yes Farida! We will be in touch...a music and storytelling blog on BeesKneesReads is due soon :) And Holly, I am waiting for my D to finish up his Wiggles cd so I can put yours in. I am expecting a nice change of pace!

  9. Thanks for stopping by our blog and leaving a comment! Freckles just loves comments!

    Enjoyed reading about your experience at the conference and experiencing Portland afterwards. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live so close to Powells and those great shops nearby!

    Come back again! And maybe we'll see you in DC next year!

  10. What a great accounting of the weekend. So glad you could come and visit our great town.

  11. Thanks Jone and Deb, Kidlit is such a great group and I wish we had longer in Portland! And hope to see you in DC next year too.


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