Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 14, 2008

Candlewick Press, NCBLA, and CLNE on Lake Champlain

It’s the last week of classes, and grading papers have put me a a bit behind with blogging and other things. Not that I’m complaining. I keep my eye on Erin’s blog as she, too, is finishing up a semester teaching but is also about to have a baby any second, if she’d not doing that now. I already love this baby for waiting through finals.

Anyway, I had a great weekend, driving north through the Adirondack Mountains with Peg Davol to Steven Kellogg’s studio overlooking Lake Champlain where we’d meet others who’d gathered for a Children’s Literature New England conference and read passages we wrote for Our White House, Looking In, Looking Out, a project to benefit the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance

The amazing anthology will be published by Candlewick Press in September. The sky was blue, apple trees in bloom and pale clouds hovered over the water and distant mountains. Steven Kellogg’s studio was bright with his own work and framed pictures done by Garth Williams, Maurice Sendak, Susan Jeffers, Howard Pyle, and his children. As people came off the ferry, trekked through the field, and entered the converted barn, almost every face lit up. It was hard to know where to look.

Many smiles later, everyone gathered under a big tent looking past apple trees in blossom, a hill where Gregory Maguire’s daughter played, her black hair blowing, down the hill to Lake Champlain. Katherine Paterson, whose Bridge to Terabithia puts me in tears every time I read it and inspired me to write for children, introduced the readers. Having her eyes rest on mine a moment, then hearing my name in her mouth: it was a wonder I could get my words out. I read from my somewhat sad piece about Woodrow Wilson, who did his best to stop WWI and start the League of Nations, and failed at both, though his ideas were later used to form the United Nations. I listened to marvelous contributors including Virginia Euwer Wolff, Susan Cooper, Mary Brigid Barrett, M. T. Anderson, Brian Selznick, and Gregory Maguire, poems, stories, essays about the wide variety of people who’d lived in the White House. A woman with regal posture took off her sunglasses and hat wound about with artificial ivy, and before I heard Linda Johnson Robb’s name I saw her resemblance to LBJ and Ladybird. She began, “Hi, y’all. I’m the only one here who’s not a professional, but they figured they should have someone who was an inmate.”

I came home to an array of pink-frosted cupcakes with Happy Mother’s Day spelled out in green, along with a gorgeous bouquet my daughter arranged. We went out to eat with my in-laws and my sister-in-law who said she’d been reading my blog. “You have great readers who comment,” she said. “Everyone seems so nice!”

“Yes,” I agreed. You are. I’m a lucky lucky person and I thank you!



  1. Oh those beautiful pictures. It makes me miss Chautauqua, which I know isn’t the same but still the east coast scenery is so very different from what we have here in California.
    It sounds like a lovely time was had by all.

  2. What an amazing experience. I am so grrreeeen! Big Congrats!

  3. It all sounds (and looks) amazing!

  4. What a wonderful trip. And pink & green cupcakes! Who could ask for more?

  5. Great pictures and a wonderful description of the day. Thanks.
    I’m glad to have met you online–sorry we missed our chance (when you read) to meet in person.

  6. That sounds amazing, Jeannine!
    And what a beautiful photo of you and your E.

  7. yes, even if they weren’t chocolate. Never one to put down that flavor, I do have a thing for vanilla, which my daughter shares.

  8. I’m sorry I didn’t get to say hello either. And I’m glad you got pictures of actual people. I mean the trees and lake were very cool, but of course the people did make the day!

  9. Thanks, Jo. E said it’s not quite beautiful enough, so she may have me change it today. What a lot of work to have such high visual standards! xo

  10. We must get you back here to enjoy lots of scenery sometime! We’re enjoying an unusually long spring, with blossoms lingering — but we can never make promises re weather!

  11. Thanks! It was fun to be there, and fun to remember via blog.

  12. Thanks. I’m trying to remember my camera more (just wish I’d gotten to people…)

  13. Loved this post, J!

  14. Wow, I’m swooning all over the place — the beautiful setting, Steven Kellogg, Katherine Paterson, you and your daughter! Lovely lovely lovely. I can feel the love :)!

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