Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 25, 2010

Kidlit Con 2010 and Friends in Minneapolis

What a great weekend in a friendly city! On Friday I met Sam, who seems happy in her first semester at Macalester. She gave me a tour of the pretty campus.

I’d see more of Sam later, after time at Kidlitcon 2010 which was held in the Loft Literary Center I got inspired, tripped over new questions I should ask myself about my life online, and picked up tips such as this from librarian Camille Powell She says that when speaking in schools it’s often a good idea to tell kids to put down their hands. But to be careful about posting pictures of students on our blogs because of privacy issues. And Maggie Steifvater m-stiefvater, made us laugh and talked about choosing boundaries when writing about her private life, saying she skirts names and numbers of things like children, choosing not to avoid or fib but to stylize sections of her life.

The best part was getting to meet in person wonderful people I’ve known online. Laura Salas took this picture of me and Toby Speed Susan Taylor Brown, , who I was so happy to hug, was on my right, but in all the handing back and forth of cameras, mine didn’t pick up a picture of her.

Here’s the fabulous Poetry Friday panel From left to right: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Toby Speed, Mary Lee Hahn, Laura Purdie Salas , and Mary Ann Scheuer

Mary Lee talked about Poetry Friday’s history as a warm community begun by Kelly Herold a little over four years ago. Some participants put up poems they write themselves, or poems they love, make book recommendations or link to events and contests. Some share ways teachers inspire interest in poems or highlight events like National Poetry Month or Poem in Your Pocket Day. Amy talked about poetry as a nourishing genre, offering children with fast-paced lives a chance to slow down and perhaps make thoughtful engagement with words and connection to other people.

I missed dinner with poet, teacher, librarian, and blogger friends, but Sam and I got to see The Master Butchers Singing Club at the Guthrie Theater. The play, based on a novel by Louise Erdrich, was adapted for stage by Marsha Norman, who turned The Secret Garden into a musical I love as much as the book. I admire Louise Erdrich’s poems, children’s books, and novels – Love Medicine may be my favorite — but don’t think I’d like seeing one turned into a movie because of the high body count in her work. The violence handled in theater worked perfectly, and the themes of finding oneself in a history of varied cultures and those singing voices: wonderful.

On Sunday Sam studied for a midterm while I wrote, then we traveled past Lake of the Isles to Birchbark Books which is owned by Louise. We were warmly greeted by a person who didn’t give me her name, but told me the sweet black dog was named Dharma, and that the store dogs keep their own blogs. There is a Hobbit Hole where children can curl up and read, a rescued confessional which they say Louise is collaging with images of her sins, a handmade canoe hung from the ceiling, birchbark bird houses and other art in every direction, but best of all the books are chosen with care. I loved the sections on Native American language, history, and literature, the wide selection of books about nature, the gorgeous picture books, but for a small shop, there was a wonderful selection in just about every genre. It was hard to leave, but also the best place to leave from, with my bags a bit heavier, before heading to the airport.



  1. Looks like a great weekend, and I love that bookstore!

  2. Thanks for the vicarious trip! Love Medicine is my favorite, too.

  3. That bookstore looks wonderful, with its birch bark decor. You had a nice mix of activities during your trip, Jeannine. And, of course, it was a blast sharing Kidlit Con with you for part of that time.

  4. Wonderful report! Blogging dogs? Love it!
    Fun to see the PF panel. Glad you spent some quality time with Sam. Sounds like a great trip, covering several bases at once :).

  5. Was great. I have long wanted to see the bookstore, and it’s wonderful when something you long to see actually exceeds your expectations! Need to spend more time there.

  6. Always happy to travel vicariously with you, Laurie!

  7. Yes, and if my texts had only gotten to you as meant we might have shared a few more minutes.. but I have happy memories of sitting side by side. Sounds like you did get a lot out of the experience.

  8. And that was one well-behaved bookstore dog. Wagged her tail, got her pet, and went back to her chair. Yes, it was good to chat with people I knew through blogging, and also someone I’ve long known as embodied!

  9. A hobbit hole sounds like the perfect place to read!
    It sounds like you had a busy and wonderful weekend. Thanks for sharing.

  10. ooh, next time I want to go to that bookstore! I think I have pictures. I need to get them off the camera.

  11. The only thing that would make that hobbit hole was more perfect is if that sweet dog followed you in. You would love this place!

  12. So great to see you, Susan. Now I’m waiting until May (fingers crossed!)

  13. Any trip that includes a bookstore like that is bound to be a great one! Thanks for taking us along with you.

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