Saturday, April 02, 2011

Two Days in Merryland

This week, I spoke at the State of Maryland International Reading Association Council (SoMIRAC) conference. As the title of this post hinted at, everyone I met there was so very happy. Even the organizers running around to keep things organized seemed happy.

And that made me happy!

My favorite part of the event was attending the High School Young Authors Program. Freshmen through seniors submitted poems or essays/short stories, and the first and second place winners were given awards at this event. Before the awards, I spoke to the students, letting them know how frustrated I was that their writing was so much better than mine when I was in high school. They were each given a signed copy of 13RW, and then they each read a portion of their winning entries. Here's the group, seating with their parents and teachers. (I'll post a list of the winners at the bottom of this post.)

Then I spoke on a panel with thirteen other writers/illustrators, followed by roundtable discussions and mingling. Kevin O'Malley sat on the panel, and during each speaker's 3-5 minute intro, he animalized us.

Another panelist, Marc Tyler Nobleman, and I exchanged info so we could swap signed copies of each other's books (they sold out of our books at the conference!). Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman has been on my to-read list since it came out.

Jennifer Allison, Mary Amato, and I had a fun and fascinating conversation on our experiences with censorship. Good times!

This was the longest stretch I've been away from home since Isaiah was born, so even though I was happy in Maryland, I was even more happy to be getting home. I don't think I've ever taken a picture in the many times I've sat in a plane and descended toward the San Luis Obispo airport, so here's what home looks like from above.

Yes, I've already gotten into the habit of bringing things home for Isaiah. So after he and I played for a long time with his new No, David! doll, we both fell asleep...and it was JoanMarie's turn to grab the camera.

SoMIRAC Young Authors Program
1st and 2nd place winners

Grade 9: 1st - Collin Tyler Keys / 2nd - Sarah Meyers
Grade 10: 1st - Becca Bauer / 2nd - Grace Clark
Grade 11: 1st - Hannah Lee Gaskill / 2nd - Naomi Pryor
Grade 12: 1st - Gabrielle Jacobson / 2nd - Sarah Watcher

Short Story/Essay
Grade 9: 1st - Emily Cronin / 2nd - Chaelin Despres
Grade 10: 1st - Samantha Solis / 2nd - Pratikshya Mudvari
Grade 11: 1st - Nicole Foggan / 2nd - Sierra Offutt
Grade 12: 1st - Typhannie Hall / 2nd - Sarah Watcher


Shannon Messenger said...

Awwwwwwww. That last picture is precious! :)

Glad you had a fun trip and made it safely home.

Sabrina Steyling said...

Love the pic of you and adorable!

Jay, would you ever venture to NJ? There's a new independent bookstore here in my home town called Well Read that is always looking for authors to come and do discussions/signings. Currently we've had several local authors come and speak to the high school creative writing club that is run by a friend of mine, and I know that the store owner would love to have you come and speak. You can contact me at for more information.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Great to meet you, Jay! Book on the way. And also mentioned you in my blog post about SoMIRAC.

Libby said...

<3 your book.