Super Conference 2011 in Toronto was so much fun! Each day, there were dozens of workshops, plenaries and events to attend…something for everyone! When we registered, we were each given a bag full of information, information on the Book Expo as well as the schedule of events to choose from. Each day, we could attend upwards of four items…ranging from library maintenance sessions to program information to interesting talks by authors. Each session was approximately an hour and fifteen minutes long and varied widely from session to session.
One session that I attended was of great interest to me: The Forest of Reading showcase. Right now, our library is knee deep in children participating in this year’s program, but this particular session included many authors who had won in their category last year, including Jeremy Tankard, Robert Paul Weston and Susin Nielsen among others. I must say that I wasn’t sure just what this session would be like or whether it would be of any interest to someone who might not have been able to attend the Forest of Reading Awards in Toronto each year. However, I was blown away!
Each author had 10 – 15 minutes to get up and speak about their experiences, either as an author, or what they’d enjoyed about being in the Forest of Reading program. One after another, they entertained us with funny stories (Weston’s account of winning a school read-a-thon without reading any books was HILARIOUS!), stories of amazement at being recognized ( Cyndi Sand-Evenland won us all over with her “this made the trip worthwhile” speech), to genuine gratitude for the response to an “issue” book (Katie Smith Milway).
The session ran over, but most of us could have listened for several more hours, I’m sure. And later, the authors made themselves available for questions after the session, which made them seem less “movie-star-ish”. And through the course of the conference, many were available to sign copies of their books at the book Expo. I managed to grab a few minutes with Jeremy Tankard who is one of my favourite picture book authors, and have him sign a copy of his book to my niece, Melody. I swear, he was as normal as anyone, but it was like I was standing in front of a huge superstar! My hands were shaking and I could barely think! But thanks to Mr. Tankard for the kind chat and imaginative signature! My niece will love it!