Saturday, February 21, 2009

A big thank you

I'm in Sarasota, Florida for a one-day conference at USF, Sarasota-Manatee. The theme of the conference was "Representations of Diversity." I gave a lecture about American Indians in children's literature at the invitation of Professor Thomas Crisp. I met him last summer at a children's lit conference in Normal, Illinois. He's at USF, Sarasota-Manatee, on the faculty. In his opening remarks, Tom spoke about the false perception that the election of Barack Obama means we've left racism behind. He's an eloquent speaker, and USF and its students are fortunate to have him on the faculty.

As part of the conference, books were sold---books recommended by myself and David Rice, the other keynote speaker. When I went by the book desk, I was pleased as could be to learn that all the copies of Richard Van Camp's What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know about Horses sold out right away.

Tom introduced me to two women who he went to grad school with: Suzanne Knezek who is at the University of Michigan-Flint, and Jaqueline LaRose, Eastern Michigan University. I spent a lot of time with all three of them. Invigorating conversation, many laughs, thoughtful reflections on children and books. It's been a terrific two days, and this is a public thank you to Tom, Suzy, and Jackie.