The Value of a Conference

I spent my weekend in Nashville, Tennesse but not for the reasons you might assume. While Nashville is full of rich, musical history, has venues for some of the best music in the world,and offers food and drink galore, this past weekend provided another opportunity away from the glitz of the country music capital.

SCBWI Midsouth hosted their annual conference. Though I've been to conferences from Atlanta to New York to Indiana and back down to Alabama, this was the first time I've attended in Nashville. I must say that I was quite impressed.

I got to speak to one of the funniest authors I've ever met, talk to agents and editors about the book business, and meet people interested in writing for children. There is nothing more I'd rather do.

I'm a staunch supporter of YA literature in the classroom and have dedicated myself and career to spreading literacy among the students of my school. Our program works.

One of the things these conferences allow me to do is meet interesting people who are more than willing to visit my students. Jay Asher and Bethany Griffin both agreed to come speak to my students. I can't tell you how exciting that is for me. The first thing I did when I arrived to my classroom at 7:30 this morning was get to work on making these events happen. I've been hosting authors for nearly a decade, so I've developed a really good program.

Once I told my students, I knew it was the right thing to do. So many have read both of these authors because I keep their books in my classroom library, and we have them in our media center. You can imagine their happiness when I told them they'd get the opportunity to meet them.

It makes it all worthwhile. Even though I get so much out of the conferences as a writer, I get even more satisfaction knowing that I'll meet wonderful writers who are willing to share their time with students who thirst for great books!

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