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Children's Literature Breakfast

With Mark Teague, author and keynote speaker
On Saturday I attended the Children’s Literature Breakfast in Glen Ellyn, IL presented by Anderson’s Book Shops. Besides schmoozing with other children’s authors, teachers and librarians, I got to hear from authors Mark Teague, Tim Green, Kathryn Lasky, Trent Reedy and “Weird Al” Yankovic. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get an autographed copy of FIREHOUSE! by Mark Teague (my 4-year old grandsons love fire engines) and FOOTBALL HERO by Tim Green (to share with the football fans in our family).

The morning began with a hot breakfast, then continued with words of wisdom from the Keynote speakers.

Trent Reedy, author of WORDS IN THE DUST, gave a moving talk about ‘writing what you know,’ and how he came to write about an Afghani girl with a disfiguring cleft lip. His book is based on a girl named Zulaikha that he met while serving in Afghanistan.

Mark Teague, whose latest picture book is FIREHOUSE!, talked about how the illustrations for his book evolved, about how he layers the colors, and how curved lines in the pictures show more energy than straight lines.

Tim Green, former pro football player, lawyer and author of suspense novels for adults as well as middle grade students, spoke about wanting to be a football player and a writer, and the importance of education. He talked about how his children helped him to add humor, and keep his books on track for today’s young readers.

Kathryn Lasky, originally from Indiana, is the author of the GUARDIANS OF GA’HOOLE series and many other award-winning books for children. She said that although her recent books feature animals she is not comfortable around them, and gave a humorous account of dealing with her children’s pets, and some other animals.

Al Yankovic, singer, songwriter and architect, also known as “Weird Al,” answered questions submitted by the audience and talked about writing his first picture book, WHEN I GROW UP.

In addition to the great line-up of authors, Jan Dundon and Kathleen March from Anderson’s Bookshop gave us an overview of some favorite new children’s books. Throughout the morning, local authors visited different tables for author chats with those seated there. I was delighted to be one of the guest authors this year, and enjoyed meeting the teachers and librarians, writers and a couple of young readers, who I met as I moved between tables.

Anderson’s is an independent bookstore with locations in Naperville, Downers Grove and Aurora, Illinois. They feature many authors and programs at their bookstores, and this was their 9th annual Children’s Literature Breakfast. You can check out their programs and schedule of author visits at their website, www.andersonsbookshop.com.  Read More 
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