Wednesday, May 7, 2014

#NESCBWI14 - Meeting My Picture Book Hero and Making A New One

Often in life we go in to an adventure with a clear goal and sometimes when fortune smiles on us we attain the goal and  surpass our expectations when wonderfulness unfolds, like it did for me on Saturday.

My #1 goal was to say hello to Peter Hamilton Reynolds, my PB creating hero. I discovered his work while doing a massive amount of research, checking out hundreds of Picture Books out of the library each week. The Librarians loved me because I pushed their numbers way up for a few months! I loved the first book I read so much I gobbled up everything the library had. For me every book he has written is an inspiration and they all make me cry (not that that is difficult). A big giant fan is what I am, so I fully expected his workshop to be the highlight of the show for me. It was awesome and inspiring and I did meet him although I forgot my planned something to say to him, which is "My maiden name is Hamilton that is the second H in the HH". Oh well no matter, it was great to meet him and listen to his stories and see him tear up at the thought of something he was speaking of. Check that off the list and onto the rest of the conference.

Little did I know that I was about to meet a new Hero. As I walked into "Pacing a Picture Book" I take a glance at the table displaying the books of the presenters. My eye shoots to the "Blue Chicken" book. In all that research I did, this book stood out, although I had only read through it once over a year ago. AWESOME! The presentation starts and I am blown away by Deborah Freedman and the analytical dissection of picture books and the way she loves what I gather are among her favorites as she pets and caresses them as she opens my eyes and fills my head. I tell her my little story and she seemed genuinely touched by it. WOW!

Exhausted I get dinner to go and head to my room for a little rest before the evening events ...

Never made it out of bed slept 12 hours, all that Saturday fantastic wore this Early bird DOWN.

Sunday however proved to be just as magical as I ran in to Deborah Freedman while on my way to my room and being brave I said hi and was rewarded with a warm chat with my new hero. Why is she a hero? I can now see something has been nagging me about my work and I have a powerful tool now to fix fatal flaws and I just love her work. While browsing the book store I saw a book cover "Fish and Snail"  that pulled me straight in and as I panned out I noticed it was sitting above "Blue Chicken". I bought both and will treasure them not only because I think they are absolutely adorable  but they will forever remind me of this first experience at a NESCBWI conference.