Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Out and About..... with Illinois Young Authors

Lucky me!
I was one of thirteen guest Illinois children’s books authors, illustrators and storytellers invited to participate in the 36th Annual Illinois Young Authors Conference held May 15 at Illinois State University in Normal.
Co-sponsored each May by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Language and Literacy Council and The Illinois Reading Council, the event celebrates and honors exceptional writing by students in grades K through 8. More than 500 students and their families traveled up and down and across Illinois to participate.

A pre-conference informal Friday night gathering at the Illinois State University Barnes & Noble Bookstore featured a panel discussion and book sale.

Saturday’s sessions are the true treasure.
Young writers from similar grade levels meet in small groups facilitated by parent and teacher volunteers. The students read aloud their manuscripts, share their writing process, then connect, writer-to-writer, with their assigned children’s book author.
Beth Vest of Lacon and Andrea Miracle of Edwardsville proved invaluable during my three sessions with third and fourth graders, overseeing my materials, clocking my talk and furiously copying the quickly-crafted original wording of each session’s group-written List Poem verse that appears, complete, at the end of this posting.

The day ended with an Awards Ceremony during which each participating Young Author received a certificate and autographed book from his or her session author.

Hats off (stove-pipe style) to Jan Dundon who once again so generously gave of her time to organize and oversee this singular annual Illinois event, and to her hard-working ILLC and IRC volunteers..

And hats off, too, to the talented Young Authors honored at this year's 36th Illinois Young Authors celebration! Another talented Illinois author, known especially for his oration, would be stroking his beard and popping his black vest buttons.

Out and About with My Illinois Young Authors

On a terrific May day in 2010
I worked (writer-to-writer) with
         Illinois Young Authors
                                    Durand and Elgin            
                                    Granite City
                                    and so it goes.
                       The Land of Lincoln grows some mighty fine writers!

My writers had written
                       such as Storybooks
                       (tales of friendship and adventure)
                       And Non-fiction too, such as
                       Skits and Poems
                       No one, it turns out, wrote a memoir.
                       But Gillian wrote about her brother in the service.
                       All agreed: each wrote something unique.

I had to ask,
since I’m a Young-at-Heart Author,
one who so wished she'd grown up in Illinois,
"What does each of you love MOST about writing?”

              Michael loved the drawing and the coloring.
              Ryan loved thinking about something, then simply just writing.
                      Amanda liked expressing herself.
                      Ethan liked imagining.
             Aziz liked sharing thoughts and Life experiences.
             “You can redo writing if you want to,” said Hunter.
             “I can write whatever I want to,” Jayce said
             Jack Timbo likes writing a lot of stuff on paper.
             Carson had the Very Last Word:
             “Writing," he declared, "is a Miracle!”

(I could not have said it better.)

--Esther Hershenhorn


Carmela Martino said...

What a great experience, Esther!
And I love your list poem. :-)

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Yay, Esther! And congrats to Young Authors everywhere. I have a few young neighbors who are wonderful writers, and it is always a privilege (and a pleasure) to read their work!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Fabulous last line!