Here are the things you need for a successful writing/book conference:
* First, reserve the most intensely colored hotel you can find.
Drag friends there to stay with you, and be thankful that the hotel furnishes you with earplugs… as the Tenderloin is only a bar, liquor store, club and dealer-filled noisy block away…
* Next, have a line up of some of your favorite illustrators and authors, people like Ashley Bryan, whose work you remember from elementary school, or the electric Yuyi Morales (pronounced with a hard y/j sound, as in Castillian Spanish), whose bright colors and heartfelt encouragement just make you both tear up and smile; or a writer of Awe Status like Our Jane, whose thoughtful keynote address had you trying to take notes and listen and think all at once.
Then, open up such intriguing topics as “Technicolor” which was about the depiction of multicultural representation in films made from children’s books (you knew I’d be at that one), or Literature for Children of Mixed Heritage.
* Finally, name it something thought-provoking yet short, like Reading the World IX and give it a really neat logo and have an artist like the incredible Debra Frasier let you borrow her book cover for program art.
Then, you’ll have it: a really fabulous conference on the promotion of multicultural literature for children and young adults from all parts of the world, for as you know, it is the right of every child to find their world reflected in the literature they read and find in their classrooms.
Although I was disappointed that Pooja Makhijani had to cancel her talk (and I’d love to know what happened! No one seemed to know…), there were a great many deeply thoughtful, unpretentious and wonderful people there and some big topics brought up that I’ll ramble on about when I’m a little less tired… but it will suffice for now to say that this multicultural literature event happens again next March 23 — and there will be cake, I hear. If you have the opportunity to go — go!