Since last we met, Lois Lowry and I made a planned assault on Montana in October for the Montana Reading Association. We met wonderful people and had a chance to see some of the beauties of that state. One of the most interesting sights was a group of Buddhist monks lined up outside a theater in Bozeman to see Seven Days in Tibet.
I worked with the Early Childhood program in Milwaukee at their big conference and was very impressed with the dedication and concern of the teachers and their administrators.
There were two wonderful events in December in Boston. Katherine Paterson, Patricia MacLachlan, Jon Scieszka, Lois Lowry and Natalie Babbitt were on a panel moderated by David Macaulay at the Boston Public Library. They're all on the board of an organization to promote reading and the panel was wonderful! The audience was huge and the laughter was almost non-stop but, such was David Macaulay's skill and the panel's dedication that it didn't degenerate into a series of wisecracks with no substance. It was one of the best evenings I've spent in a long time. Afterwards Katherine, her friend Lee and I spent the weekend at Lois's for lots of good talk and more laughter. Sunday night Lois was part of another panel, this time at Radcliff on censorship of children's books. It was sponsored by PEN and organized by Robie Harris, author of that outstanding book of sex education, It's Perfectly Normal.
Coming up in the next few months is a visit to Blountsville, Alabama to be part of a young writer's conference.
Also, and probably most importantly, our preconvention institute for the International Reading Association in Orlando on May 3rd has been approved and you're all invited! You get Shelley Harwayne, Director of the Manhattan New School; Mary Bigler, one of the best and funniest presenters I've ever heard anywhere; Barbara Kines, parent columnist for Teaching K-8 Magazine; Gary Dulabaum, recording artist and musician; Linda Lindroth, computer columnist for Teaching K-8; Gary Paulsen, author of many, many wonderful books and yours truly.
Hope to see you there!
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