This summer, my family and I did something CRAZY. Crazy, I tell you. We loaded up in our car, waved goodbye to our family and friends, and completed a thirty one hour road trip across the southwest US. You read that right. Thirty one hours of "I Spy", spilled snacks in the back seat, sibling squabbles, and songs on the radio. Our stuffed-to-the-max car started its journey in our hometown, Memphis, TN, and made stops in Sedona Arizona to see the giant, almost Martian red rock formations, Monterey in California to watch sea otters relaxing in kelp beds, and Los Angeles for my husband and kids to ride bikes along Venice Beach and for me to attend my very first conference for writers and illustrators of children's books hosted by the SCBWI organization. I learned so much about what it means to be a children's author, and I also got to meet some amazingly talented new authors to share with you! I also got to be in the same room as the legendary Judy Blume!!! She was interviewed by the conference chair. See proof below.
Here are a few of the books I took back home with me from the conference. I'm loving them right now.
Dance is For Everyone by Andrea Zuill
In this book, anyone and everyone can learn to dance ballet, little bodies, big bodies, tall bodies, short bodies, brown bodies, white bodies, boy bodies, girl bodies, even a giant (and maybe a tad bit clumsy) alligator body. I loved this book from the moment I saw it because the alligator is so adorable! I love, love the author's illustration style. I was also drawn to this book because of the inclusion of boys in the ballet classroom in the book and the book's theme of inclusion when it comes to whether or not ballet is a "girl sport". I've mentioned before how my four year old boy is really interested in taking a dance class but has on several occasions told me that he can't take one because "ballet is for girls only". Well, that simply not true! Boys can dance ballet too. I love that this book shows little boys and little girls that as the title says, dance is for everyone.
Eat Sleep Poop by Alexandra Penfold and Jane Massey
Are you in the process of prepping your child for the arrival of a new baby brother or sister? This is the book for you! When my second child was born, my first born son was kind of disappointed by him at first. Babies don't do anything besides eat, sleep, and poop, and he was expecting someone to play soccer with in the front yard. This bright and happy little book is funny and sweet and would be a great way to prep older siblings on what to expect when baby comes home!
Here is a picture of me fan-girling out when I met fabulous illustrator, Leuyen Pham! My son loves her work in The Boy Who Loved Math, and I love her for her work in Vampirina Ballerina.