Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In 2004, a year before I started this blog, I read The Hollow Kingdom, by Clare B. Dunkle. Soon after, I sent Dunkle an email in appreciation of the book. Dunkle replied, and we shared a correspondence for a time. My daughter was not yet one year old, I was exhausted all the time, and I relied heavily upon email correspondence for grownup conversation that didn't have to do with parenting. At one point, Dunkle mentioned her book-reviewer friend Sondy Ecklund (at the time, both were living in Germany), and said that she thought we'd enjoy getting to know each other. I can't remember who wrote first, but Sondy and I started what would be a years-long correspondence.
Last weekend, Sondy and I met for the first time at the 2011 KidLitCon children's and teen literature blogging conference, held here in Seattle, Washington. It was good to meet Sondy and talk in person. In addition to book-reviewing, writing, and being a librarian, Sondy is a self-described "math nut" (see her post on her prime factorization sweater).When I asked for advice on bringing math into the home, she recommended board games, and Monopoly Jr. in particular, as it encourage multiplication. I've not yet played it, but I ordered a copy of the board game for Lucia's benefit. Sony blogs and reviews at Sonderbooks. "Sonder" is a German prefix that means "special," which is an apt description for the lively, passionate Sondy Ecklund.
At KidLitCon 2011, I got to talk with a number of bloggers, including Sarah Stevenson, co-author of the blog Finding Wonderland,, Els Kushner, who currently blogs for Tor, Pam Coughlan of MotherReader, Anne Levy of the Cybils Awards, Holly Cupala, Shiraz Cupala,, and Lee Wind. I finally got to meet Martha Brockenbrough (who also writes SPOGG). I'd been a fan of her writing for years. but only recently realized that we were also neighbors. It was a pleasure to meet "science-journalist by day/kidlit blogger by night" Lisa Song of Reads for Keeps. I ended up talking with co-conference organizer Colleen Mondor of Chasing Ray for just a few minutes (about bacon jam, of all things), but there were a number of people with whom I wished I could have gotten to know better. There's only so much time, and the day was filled with a variety of sessions. I stayed up late after the Friday meet-and-greet, but on Saturday, ended up leaving soon after the dinner was done.
The session highlights of the day for me were Scott Westerfeld's keynote, which was a presentation on the history of illustration in chapter-books, and the final panel on diversity in YA/Teen literature. I finally started reading Westerfeld's books this year, and have enjoyed in particular the alternative World War I steampunk historical fiction books in the Leviathan trilogy, particularly because of Keith Thompson's illustrations.
The link to the 2011 KidLitCon roundup is here.