Here's this year's organizing crew: Paula Willey and me in the back, and Sheila Ruth, Charlotte Taylor, Melissa Fox, and Pam Margolis in the front. We are thrilled that this year went so well, even with a smaller group this time--it felt like those who came got a lot out of it (I know I did) and it is always, always wonderful to hang with fellow kidlit peeps. Some amazing discussions on gatekeeping (this year's theme) and censorship happened, and Kristi Bernard gave a great presentation on diversity, tying back into last year's theme. We also had awesome keynotes from Clare Vanderpool (whose Powerpoint skills I am in awe of) and A.S. King. Speaking of which, here's me with A FAMOUS AUTHOR:
We also had a chance to wander around downtown Wichita after the conference ended, and found this very cool chalk mural thingy on a wall, posing the question "What positive changes have you seen in Wichita?" We were highly entertained by some of the feedback people decided to put up.
For my personal fave, it's a tie between "yellow brick streets," "Pie," and "I Don't Bang Herion [sic] in my eye no more!"
It was, in fact, very cool to see all the public art in the downtown, even the eerily realistic bronze sculptures of children. I am a fan of public art in general. But, as always, the best part was getting to feel like I was with my tribe. The worst part was trying to figure out how to Tetris all the books I acquired into my suitcase...