Saturday, November 19, 2016

NCTE Atlanta

Nerdy presentation - picture by Colby Sharp.
I had a hard time getting ready for NCTE this year. My heart was heavy and I began to feel that I needed to stay home for a variety of reasons. Even Wednesday morning as I threw my bags in the van, I questioned if I should go. I decided to go ahead.

I had no idea how much I needed it.
Side trip to the Center for Civil and Human Rights. WOW.
I really am not a huge fan of traveling. A homebody at heart, I love being at home in my pajamas, reading, and relaxing. I love being surrounded by my family. I abhor flying. All of this comes together to make it difficult to leave. This year was intensified for a variety of reasons. So when I saw my first teacher friend in the airport, I almost cried. By driving three hours, flying for two, I knew I would be surrounded by my tribe. These people - the teachers, authors, illustrators, and publishers - they get it. They know that the kids are why we are all here. That the children in this country are our best hope. That in them I see a bright future, and I need to cling to that now more than ever.
Sara and Teresa. My heart is happy. 
When I see friends, especially those I haven't seen in awhile, I often hug them. It would be next to impossible to calculate the amount of hugs I've had while at NCTE thus far, but each one has served the purpose of easing my anxiety just a bit more.
One of my roundtables photographed, thanks Kristin Ziemke. 
I've seen amazing teachers and presenters, wonderful authors and illustrators, colleagues and mentors. I've given two presentations, attended so many, and been inspired by all. While I miss my family and am beyond grateful to see them tomorrow, I'm so glad I came. NCTE reminded me to hope, to love, and to continue doing what I'm doing. It was the perfect way to spend the last few days.
What it's all about - a kid book talking a book to a guest at my roundtable today.