Educators from all over the country traveled to Orlando last weekend to attend the International Literacy Association's 2017 conference. In case you couldn't make it down to the Sunshine State yourself, here are some of the highlights from a weekend full of conversations about books, learning, and the joy of reading! Check out #ILA17 on Twitter to see even more conversations!
The weekend kicked off with a keynote address by The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet author, Carmen Agra Deedy:
The Scholastic booth was home to giveaways, meet-and-greets with favorite authors, signings, and more!
Scholastic authors shared words of wisdom on many panels throughout the weekend.
Our Scholastic Education team went live with some of their professional authors:
And we couldn't help but get choked up reading this story of an interaction author Cecilia Galante had with a middle school principal who came through her signing line:
During my signing at the Scholastic booth a tall, very weary looking man approached me. He was bald and a little bit stooped, and his skin was pink from the humidity, which made his face look like a glossy apricot. He shook my hand and introduced himself as the principal of a middle school in rural Georgia, an incredibly poor district with a 65% welfare population. And then he told me that he was there to get as many of my books as possible for his school library.
"Oh, that's so nice of you," I said. "Thank you. I'm flattered."
He told me he wasn't trying to flatter me. And then he told me a story about a little girl he had come across in the hall one day. She was in fifth grade. She lived in a house at the end of a dirt road with her mother, grandfather, and five younger siblings. Her attendance at school was spotty, mostly because as the oldest, she had to stay home a lot to help her grandfather. She'd missed her bus that afternoon because she was sitting in the corner, reading my novel The World From Up Here. The principal squatted down next to her and asked her what she was doing.
"I'm reading," she said, holding up the book.
"Must be a pretty good book," he said. "You missed your bus."
She stared down at the pages. "It's a really good book."
"What's good about it?" he asked her.
She shrugged. Rubbed her nose. Closed the book and stared down at the cover. "Just makes me feel like maybe everything's going to be okay," she told him.
And that, this wonderful principal told me, was why he was there to get more of my books. Because he wanted more of his students to read them and get the feeling that things just might be okay after all. That maybe living at the end of a dirt road with five little brothers and sisters and an ailing grandfather was not where a life ends - but only where it begins.
We hope to see you next year at #ILA18!