Well this is going to be about some of the funnier things that happened at the conference, i thought they were funny anyway. On Sunday, toward the end of the conference, Lin Oliver mentioned that it was Jane Yolen's birthday the next day. Lin had a huge big bouquet of flowers and she suggested that we should sing Happy Birthday to Jane Yolen. Then she said "now I don't have a great singing voice but I know Arthur Levine does, so he can lead us in singing happy birthday!" Arthur was standing at the podium at the time and as Jane Yolen approached I (because I was sitting in the front row) heard her say to him "is this going to be like a Marilyn Monroe thing?" I think she was joking but Arthur says "I can do that!" Then he proceeds to sing Happy Birthday in this very breezy sultry voice (that was pretty good) just like the Marilyn Monroe sang to JFK. It was hilarious but when he was done Lin Oliver said "you know we're gonna but that on YouTube." Now I have looked and looked on YouTube to see if someone did actually post it but I haven't found it yet. If someone reading this finds it let me know, I'd love to put a link here.
Another funny was Carolyn Mackler's address at lunch on Saturday. She was really incredible, a great speaker and story teller. During her speech she mentioned how, when you write fiction, everyone assumes its autobiographical. When her book The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, a story about a highschool girl dealing with anxiety about her weight among other things, was published her friends came to Mackler and told her that after reading her book they had no idea she had lost that much weight. She responded "Thats ok, I write FICTION." She also explained her theory of how it is unnecessary to assume a lone, sullen person on an airplane is a terrorist if they have just started reading a book: if its a good book it's unlikely that they will blow up the plane before they have finished it.
The last speaker on Sunday was Richard Peck. I grew up reading his books and hearing my mom, who was a librarian, tell stories of hearing him speak at ALA conventions. I'd never seen him before and I really wish I had a video of his talk, it was so inspiring. He had almost a sermonly presence behind the podium. His point was about how creating books for children is one of the most singularly impressive and important things we can do, and how reading is one of the most important things a young person can do. I wrote down his quote "If you don't find yourself on the page early in life you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places." How true.