a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Full Day

The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Today was a full day at the Illinois Reading Council Conference.  With our presentation behind us (it was yesterday, and went well), my husband and I were ready to fully engage in all the conference has to offer.  And believe me, it has a lot to offer…

Today I learned that Powerless by Matthew Cody won the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award in the state of Illinois.  What’s even more exciting is that he is going to be our visiting author in just a few weeks!  I also found out the details about next year’s Caudill nominees. 

Today I took a session off to stock up on books from Stenhouse, Heinemann, Lake-Cook Distributors, and the Anderson’s Bookshops booth in the exhibit hall.  After Becky Anderson’s K-8 book talks of more than 100 books in an hour, I had a looooong wishlist.

Today I immersed myself in the idea of teaching with images in a session with Harvey Daniels.   I deepened my understanding of some of his ideas I had previously only read about.

Today I laughed until I cried while listening to Jack Gantos tell stories from his childhood.  I caught a glimpse of his journal and soaked in his ideas for getting students to fill their own journals.  Journals that just might turn into books one day.

Today I celebrated words over lunch with Katie Wood Ray.  I listened to stories and peeked at snippets of craft worth studying.  I even saw a picture of Katie Wood Ray's fabulous house in the mountains.

Today my stack of books to be read grew exponentially after I snuck out of a session with Becky Anderson (owner of Anderson’s Bookshops, a local independent, family-owned bookstore) early to buy even more books from the Anderson’s Bookshops booth.  Becky and her daughter introduced more than 35 young adult (high school) titles before I was compelled to sneak a moment to shop prior to the closing of the exhibits.

Today I caught a glimpse of the middle school language arts classrooms of Mindi Rench and Heather Corral through their description of their district’s implementation of the reading and writing workshop model.  I left feeling good about the progress being made in my district even without having any district-driven workshop initiative.

Today was a full day.


  1. Wow--tired just reading this post. Hope you'll share some of those new titles with us!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful day...love going to conferences and filling up my mind. I LOVE Katie Wood Ray. I sat with her when I presented at NCTE several years ago. She is just so amazing & fun! I have not gone to one conference this year. It feels so weird when I am used to going to several a year. Reading your slice got my wheels turning that it's time to get back in the swing of things. Thanks for the push!!!

  3. Conferences are never good for the pocketbook. I think I probably paid for Katie Wood Ray's house by buying her books, love her! Is it a bad thing when the Heinemann and Stenhouse book reps know my by name? Fortunately my husband does not attend, so I can shop to my heart's content and get them in the house in my suitcase. Sounds like a great day!

  4. I'm jealous...love attending workshops and what a day you had! When I did a Mock Newbery club last year, I discovered Anderson's Bookshop and their Mock Newbery club. Great website! I was lucky to attend a workshop last week with Harvey Daniels.

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  6. (Deleted my first try for some incorrect punctuation!) Glad to hear your presentation went well! Was it done with your husband? Love a good conference too. Thanks for sharing with us thumbnail sketches of all your good finds --- in thought and title. Catch you tomorrow...b

  7. Wow, Christy, it sounds like such a wonderful day. As I have just been to the Colorado Council conference, I know kind of how it was, but you saw different people & I missed one day because of a snow storm. Like Deb, I'm looking forward to hearing about new titles!

  8. Ah! Books and learning - what could be better? I am envious of some of your shared moments, like new books, Harvey Daniels, and Katie Wood Ray.

  9. I am looking forward to reading your upcoming book recommendations! Your former students are probably eagerly awaiting them, too!

  10. I am glad for you. It wasn't just a full but a rich day, despite the fact that your bank account got smaller.

  11. I would have loved to have sat with you and listend to these great presenters. Katie is my favorite - always. Jack would have been fun to hear. I would have LOVED to have heard the great new books. Maybe sometime we can sit together again at a session. Maybe that sometime will be this summer. :)

  12. What a great opportunity! I would have liked to have visited all you mentioned including yours! I saw Katie at the "all write" in Indiana last summer , it was THE best conference I have ever attended,I am hoping to go back this year too. It's a long drive for me but so worth it.Do you attend that one? Present?

  13. Love how full your day was and that each line started with "Today I" -- amazing and rejuvenating! Perfect combo and hope you share more of your learning and insights.

  14. I'm so jealous! Sounds like a great time--it's been a while since I've been able to go to this type of conference and even longer since I bought stacks of books. I'm woefully behind in picture books, middle grade and YA novels, etc.
    But...when you and others post with titles...I make a new Amazon list. I do have Powerless though, and loved it.