This year the I.R.A. convention was held in Chicago. That turned out to be especially fortuitous for the I.R.A. members from Illinois for two reasons: first of all, more of them could go to the convention because travel was less expensive; also, the Illinois Reading Council won five I.R.A. awards this year, so more Illinois members got to go to the awards ceremony to see the awards bestowed! Way to go, Illinois - you continue to be top-notch in your dedication to professional development! The I.R.A. convention will return to Chicago in 2012, and I'm sure the Illinois Reading Council will be big winners again!
The I.R.A. convention boasted some of the same speakers we will have in 2011: Jane Yolen, T.A.Barron, Diane Barone, Cindy Middendorf, and Frank Serafini were all there. (Honestly, check out Dr. Serafini's page - is there anything that man can't do?) I didn't get a chance to talk with Diane and Jane, but I did get to talk with both Frank and Tom for a bit. Whenever I'm in a position to speak with someone 'of greatness,' I feel like I shouldn't be taking up their time, but these two were awesome in their kindness! I had spoken with Jane Yolen last year at I.R.A. and Diane Barone this year at the Michigan Reading Association conference, and they were both wonderful as well. (I have not met Cindy Middendorf yet, but she's got a great first name!) It's always good to know we have nice people coming to our conference, isn't it?
Remember my last post? If not, scroll down and give it a skim - it refers to my cousin and his daughter, Sophia, who is giving us her 'librarian look' in the picture. Anyway, she woke up one morning and wrote a poem about a dragon about whom she had dreamt. So when I met T.A. Barron, who has a Merlin’s Dragon Trilogy, I wanted to show her poem to him. That’s what I’m holding in the picture here. I was going to ask him to sign it, but I had already asked him to sign two books for Sophia, and there were others in line, so I nixed that idea. Maybe another time, like next March, in Illinois!