ALA 2013 – Sunday Excitement

This is Part 5 of my ALA 2013 Annual Conference Coverage. I’m up to Sunday morning. Darn those long shuttle rides! I did arrive in time to hear most of Temple Grandin’s talk, but as you can see above, I wasn’t in time to get a good seat. But what I heard was outstanding, and I’m looking forward to reading the book,The Autistic Brain, which I purchased and got signed by Temple Grandin.

She was talking about what’s in the book: How autistic brains are different from neurotypical brains, and some things you can do to help all kids adjust to life better.

When I walked in, she was talking about innate ability. If you’re in the middle in some area, you can become good at it, but it’s the extremes that are tricky. She tends to be very good at some things and terrible at other things. Our school system finds it harder to accommodate such people.

She talked about different kinds of thinkers. She said there are two kinds of visual thinkers. She’s a photo-realistic thinker, but some are more about vision in space. People in the middle tend to be more of a mix than those on the extremes.

(One thing she threw out that I have to enthusiastically and whole-heartedly support: Kids who are skilled in math should be allowed to go ahead. Hear! Hear!)

“We need different kinds of minds working on problems.”
“When different kinds of minds work together, they can do great things.”

When helping kids who are different to succeed, you need to stretch them. Start teaching them work skills.
“Kids need to work in groups and invent their own rules.”
“Develop the area of strength, especially with the kids who are different.”
“Get kids into special interests.”
“Kids need hands-on classes. Those also teach problem-solving and resourcefulness.”
What saved her: Horses, carpentry…
“We need more people doing real stuff.”
“Talented, quirky kids get too many labels.”
Get rid of 60-cycle fluorescent lights and experiment with different colored paper.

“It takes a village to raise a child — The library is an important part of the village.”

After Temple Grandin’s talk and signing, I spent a little time at the exhibits, and then went to a program about Poetry Friday led by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell.

They were mostly going over ideas from their book called Poetry Friday, but the ideas were wonderful, so I don’t begrudge them that. The basic concept: Take a moment on Fridays to share poetry with your students. In a public library, I was challenged to start adding poetry to programs, not just relying on picture books alone.

They talked about how poetry fits with the Common Core, and all the poems and activities in their book fit with the standards by grade level. (They’ve got them divided into poems and activities to do with each grade level.)

They have “Take 5” Poetry Sharing Strategies:
1) Adult reads aloud.
2) Children participate. (Read again, with instructions for their participation.)
3) Open discussion
4) Skill connection
5) Poem extension (Compare with another poem)

What I took away from this, besides wanting their book, was being encouraged to think about ways to add poetry to what we offer at the public library. And to think about joining Poetry Friday on my blog.

Then I had been invited to a lunch put on by Boyds Mills Press. Even though it kept me from a couple things on the other side of Chicago, I thought it was worth it to get to talk to some authors and librarians face to face and make a more personal connection.

It turned out the lunch was just wonderful. Two authors, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Nikki Grimes, were there, along with an editor, Rebecca Davis, and a marketing person, Kerry McManus, from Boyds Mills Press. And then they’d invited six children’s librarians. So it was a lovely personal time when we actually got to talk with the authors and each other and enjoy the company of other children’s book people.

Both authors were lovely people to have lunch with!

Here I am with Rebecca Kai Dotlich:

And here is Nikki Grimes with librarian Kiera Parrot:

So much fun!

The final program I attended on Sunday (besides the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, which gets its own post) was Archives Alive! Various people from libraries with children’s book archives showed slides of the material they have related to past Caldecott winners (still celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott medal).

This one, you had to be there to enjoy. It was amazing to look at some of the items the libraries had. Some picture book dummies. Some original art (which is rare for Caldecotts). Some letters from illustrators written in longhand. Caldecott woodblocks from Marcia Brown. Linoleum blocks from Dick Whittington. Comparative editions of some Caldecott books. It was all very fascinating

And then — back to the hotel to get ready for the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, a highlight of the entire weekend! With the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, many people came in costume, so my next post will have lots of pictures!