kidlitcon 09 part one: some peeps


So, Cornelius and I spent Saturday hobnobbing at the Kidlit Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Here he is greeting the one and only Ellsworth of Ellsworth’s Journal. This was a rare pleasure, because we’ve been fans of Ellsworth, her co-blogger, Winchester the Cat, and The Writer (Candice Ransom) for quite some time.

Candice (prolific author of more than 100 books!) and I had met before, but hadn’t seen each other for many years. What fun it was to compare notes about the many ups and downs of blogging and trying to keep abreast of the whole social networking thing. And, there are some uncanny similaries between us: we’re about the same age (28) ☺, bear collectors/antique lovers, long-time residents of Virginia, we both had gotten up at 4 a.m. that morning, ate the very same thing for lunch, and left the conference at the same time. Oh, and, you know the woods around our house I always talk about? They just happen to be the very same ones Candice grew up in, where she collected chestnut acorns, sat on big logs and made up her first stories! How cool is that?

Other Decidedly Awesome People I Met:

     Fellow VA author Moira Donahue  (whom I had met previously
     at Kristy Dempsey’s booksigning) and Tricia (holding Cornelius).

Tricia Stohr-Hunt: *swoon* Yes, I already knew how brilliant and talented and amazing she is (case in point: Poetry Makers interview series for National Poetry Month this past April), but I didn’t expect her to be so dang adorable (and she’s a good hugger). When she greeted me at breakfast, all my pre-conference jitters vanished. I’m big on first impressions and trust my intuition when it comes to new people — from her I got very warm, positive vibes. I guess you could say I experienced firsthand The Miss Rumphius Effect!

Mary Lee Hahn: What a pleasure to see Mary Lee there. I know her from Poetry Fridays and her blog with Franki Sibberson, A Year of Reading. Can you say, "cool purple glasses"? Can you say, "I wish I could be in her class?" Mostly, I wish there had been more time to just sit down and chat with her some more.  


Jennifer Hubbard: I was especially glad to meet her, as she was the only other Live Journal blogger on my friends list there. I first spotted her from across the room. It was one of those surreal moments when a photograph comes to life — and she was just as warm and friendly as I had imagined. We both missed Kelly Fineman, who had to cancel because of illness. (Hugs to Kelly — feel better soon!) Don’t miss Jenn’s excellent post about what Mary Engle (FTC Associate Director for Advertising Practices), said regarding the new Guidelines and how it affects independent book reviewers/bloggers. And don’t forget: Jenn’s debut novel, The Secret Year, will be out in January 2010!


Justine Rowden: During the Meet the Author session I had a lovely chat with Justine, author of Paint Me a Poem (Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press). Who could resist a picture book featuring poems about famous paintings? We shared our love for words, art, England and Brussels! I hope to feature her book on a future Poetry Friday.

Brief Encounters Where Cornelius Got Hugged, Kissed, Whispered to and Cooed Over by Old Friends and Perfect Strangers:

Here he is with tween author Caroline Hickey (Cassie Was Here, Isabelle’s Boyfriend). Can I just say how wonderfully photogenic kidlit peeps are? 


It’s always fun to run into Sara Lewis Holmes (Cornelius has been crushing on her because of the Little Green Army Men in her new book, Operation Yes):


Met Laurel Snyder for the first time (she’s had mucho restaurant experience, so I’m doubly anxious to read her books, Inside the Slidy Diner and Any Which Wall):

Here’s Bill from Literate Lives,

(He’s a fellow Barbara O’Connor fan!)

and three totally delightful authors with personality plus (Varian Johnson, Diana Peterfreund, and Paula Chase Hyman). BTW, hearing Varian Johnson’s laugh was worth the price of admission (besides authoring, he’s a civil engineer who works for the same company as Len)!

        Varian bonded with Cornelius instantly.

There were many others whom I didn’t have a chance to meet (since we were kept quite busy with panel discussions throughout the day and I didn’t stay for dinner). Glad I was able to say hello to Jen Robinson, though, and was tickled to run into Minh Lê of Bottom Shelf Books, who came at the last minute. The master of picture book satire was much younger than I imagined (I think he said he was 29) — a breath of fresh air who is actually quite sweet (I know this probably isn’t good for his reputation so don’t tell anyone). ☺

            Is that a great smile or what?

In Part Two, I’ll share a few of my thoughts related to Pam’s "Interview with Your Inner Blogger," the Blogging authors panel, and Greg Pincus’s talk about social networking. More pictures, too!

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

34 thoughts on “kidlitcon 09 part one: some peeps

  1. I had *thought* Kelly would be there; sorry to hear she was sick.

    I’d LOVE to meet Minh. Jealous.

    I keep hearing about Varian Johnson’s laugh from more than one person. Do explain. Is it just super joyous?

    There *is* something to be said for a good hug. The two pats on the back during a hug always negate it, I say. Must be a good bear hug. I’m not surprised Tricia’s good at that.



  2. We all missed Kelly for sure. She takes blogging to another level.

    I smile whenever I think about Minh.:)

    I think Varian’s laugh catches most people by surprise. Here is this tall, cool looking guy who seems to laugh at the slightest provocation. Hard to describe — just contaigious (in a gasping for air kind of way) 😀

    Tricia’s a champion hugger. Her natural warmth is part of the whole package!


  3. thanks!

    Thanks for this Jama, its fun to see the people behind the blogs! I wish I could have come down for the conference.


  4. What great photos! You even managed to give me a chin (it’s a tragedy what happens to some people at age 28)! Ellsworth has never looked better (my husband says she is the saddest-looking thing he has ever seen). That Cornelius scooted around, didn’t he? If he ever gets tired of Chez Jama, there’s room at our house!


  5. What a wonderful tour! I have to say, though, I’d always pictured Cornelius as much bigger–but maybe he just looks smaller next to all these giants of kidlit and kidlit blogging! So nice to have a little guy you can take with you everywhere!


  6. Truman’s Aunt Farm at KidLitCon

    Hi Jama,

    I’m so glad you have a photo of yourself here because I saw you many times at the KidLitCon this weekend, but never met you. So now I can put the face to the name. I have Truman’s Aunt Farm, which I bought because I love Brian Karas, but then I fell in love with your story as well. I wanted to tell you!

    Thanks for posting these other photos. It’s so fun to see faces of those I met. I didn’t meet the bear! Where was I? I did meet Sara Lewis Holmes, and followed her link to you here.

    ~ Joan Holub


  7. Re: Truman’s Aunt Farm at KidLitCon

    Hi Joan!!

    So sorry we missed each other. I’m sure Cornelius is also disappointed he didn’t get to pose with you and your books. Thanks for liking Truman’s Aunt Farm. Brian Karas is great isn’t he?

    Hope we run into each other at another event. Thanks for visiting today! 🙂


  8. You (and Cornelius) were my FAVORITE meet-for-the-first-time at this year’s conference!! You are such a rock star of Poetry Friday…I was in awe to meet you in person!! I love it that I can hear your actual VOICE now behind the incredible voice in your writing! Fun, fun, fun!!!


  9. What fun! I so wish I could have gone. Still, it’s great to see the pics.

    Susan T.
    Chicken Spaghetti


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