Probably the best part of the Washington Library Media Association Conference was getting to hear these three children's authors speak. Every author I have ever been able to listen to or visit with has a story to tell. Well, obviously they do or they would not be authors!
T. A. Barron is an avid hiker and started out writing nature books. (His children are all named after mountains. and they have visited each of their mountains--including the one in Antarctica. See, I told you they have a story!) His Lost Years of Merlin series is very intriguing and popular among our middle schoolers. I am intrigued to learn about his other series, as well.
Patrick Carman's Land of Elyon series also really moves in the library. He gave a presentation about how he builds the worlds of his fantasy novels from a sketch to a model before he inhabits them with his characters. (He's showing us how big his first model of Atherton was.) His places really are another character in his books, so it obviously works!
Do you see that little animal on the cover of Judy Schachner's book? That is Skippyjon Jones, a Siamese cat who thinks he is a chihuahua. Judy led us through her colorful home, introduced us to her pets--including Skippyjon, a real Siamese whose ears did seem to be that big. Sadly, Skippyjon died just two weeks ago, so talking about him was difficult for Judy today. Judy also told us about the Viking ship her daughters pooled their piggy bank money to buy. Did I mention that authors are fascinating and have interesting stories to tell?
The Skippyjon Jones books also sail off the shelves.