Saturday, August 6th:
Morning Keynote Trifecta- This was my absolute favorite part of the conference. It was heart-wrenching, and honest and hopeful. It was about leaving the emotional truth on the page and getting the author out of the way. Just wonderful.
Donna Jo Napoli-
“Any civilization is built on empathy and the safest way to build empathy is through a book.”
“If you need to write it, chances are, there are children out there…many children, who need to read it.”
“Life is a shit storm and the only umbrella we have is art.”
“The stuff that’s going to matter is going to come from deep, deep inside.”
“A quest involves questioning.”
Richard Jesse Watson-
“There’s a child inside of each of us. Or an inner Godzilla for some children.”
“It’s our mistake that we’ve practically banished boredom.”
“One kid dreaming in an hour probably has more ideas than we do in a lifetime.”
Sunday, August 7th:
“Read like the wolf eats.”
“Get ourselves off the page and off the stage.”
“Every book [we write] begins in the library in the hopes that it will end there.”
“Unless you find yourself on the page [as a reader], very early in life, you will go looking in all the wrong places.”
Laurie Halse Anderson-
“Art disturbs the universe.”
“You’re gonna’ die.”
My family is baseball family. Both sons love playing first base and pitching. My son’s room has a green monster complete with scoreboard and red socks painted on the wall. We spend many happy summer evenings at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine watching the SeaDogs minor league team. So I was thrilled to receive a review copy of David A. Kelly’s recent Ball Park Mysteries series book The L.A. Dodger.
In the series, Kate and Mike travel to various major league ballparks and find themselves in mysterious situations. Kate is logical and observant. Mike is more impulsive and daring. Together they solve problems that the adults around them can’t. Peppered throughout the book and in the back matter is information about what makes each ballpark and home team historically unique.
I happened to be on a plane to L.A. while reading the book and loved the sightseeing tidbits. Kate and Mike visit Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park Observatory and La Brea Tar Pits. Mr. Kelly does a nice job weaving in the information without interrupting the narrative flow of the book. Each excursion plays into the mystery.
Random House gives the book a 2.8 grade level but there are plenty of first through third grade kids who would love this book. Kids at this age are eager to read series, which give them a chance for literacy success. I recommend it especially for baseball lovers or infokids– those kiddos who memorize baseball stats, historical information or the names of dinosaurs.