Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lunching with the stars

School librarians have many responsibilities. They instruct students in research methods, warn against plagiarism, help them find information on topics of importance to them.

Sometimes students remember those lessons. On Friday, I was waiting for my entling to finish up her singing lesson when a bright and extremely intelligent former student who is now in high school, arrived for the next lesson. She told me that I had been in her thoughts that very day as her English teacher assigned a research project on Victorian England and told them they would be using Big 6. She remembered me teaching Big 6 in elementary school. (You can see why she is a very intelligent child. My pearls of wisdom were still, apparently, circulating through her cerebral cortex on some level.)

As I subbed at a junior high library on Friday, I was reminded, though, that my favorite part of the job is helping kids find that special book. I can't do that job unless I read the books and know something about the people who write them.

Reading puts the author's words directly into the brain. The action is between your ears, your imagination is responding directly to the story. It is very personal and initmate which is why I am always interested in the people who write the books I read.

When I attend a library conference I know I should attend those sessions on advocacy, aligning information literacy lessons with the curriculum, making my MARC records sparkle...and I do... attend...some of them. But I flock, beeline and elbow my way to sessions where authors are speaking.

Wednesday, I hastened away from the homestead enroute to Austin to see Jennifer Holm. Incredibly heavy fog and traffic conspired to keep me from arriving in time for her presentation (blast! drat!) but I did get to enjoy lunch with her AND Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith (shiny!) . Cynthia and Greg directed us to Green Pastures for an absolutely delicious lunch.

The warmth of Jennifer's welcome was overwhelming. Cynthia and Greg are legends here in Texas for generosity with their time and their booster support of other Texas writers. It was a dream to have the opportunity to meet them.

Later, you think of things you meant to tell them. I wanted Cynthia to know that Jingle Dancer is never on the shelf because it is continuously checked out by young readers, and how much I loved Indian Shoes. Greg's book Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo is a junior high triumph. The audio version is excellent!

Jennifer, Cynthia and Greg, I am grateful for your imagination and the gift you have for putting your creative sparks into words so I can experience them too!

Cool facts from lunch:
Grandmother Patience, the horrible grandmother from Our Only May Amelia, was based on a real person.
Jennifer Holm's husband designs video games so they own every gaming system known (irony!).
Cynthia is working on a new book and she and Greg traveled to the King Ranch to do research for Greg's new book.


Greg Leitich Smith said...


Thanks for your kind words (and for that NINJAS nomination!). It was great to meet you!


Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

We were honored to be in such inspiring company! You'll have to make that road trip to Austin again soon!


Anonymous said...

I do the exact same thing when I go to my library conferences as well. Love your blog.

Norma said...

I've never heard of the Big 6 but I clicked over and think it is good--and kids can remember the concept.

I taught user ed, and taught professional students how to do research, but I have never followed my own advice, and probably never will.