Monday, June 9, 2014

Christopher Paul Curtis at Children's Book Festival

This spring I attended, for the first time, the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival held on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. I have attended many conferences over the past 25 years but this was hands down the most informative, inspiring, and fun! It was four days of being immersed in all things related to children’s literature.
There were eight featured speakers (watch for more information about them in future posts) plus many others on a wide array of topics. (You have no idea how much there is to know about Alice in Wonderland.) Four awards were presented at the conference including the revered Ezra Jack Keats Book Award to a new writer and new illustrator.
The highlight of the conference was a keynote address by none other than Christopher Paul Curtis who received the USM Medallion for his contributions to children’s literature. Christopher gave a entertaining talk. He shared with the audience his own experiences growing up and how he incorporated them into his award-books such as The Watson’s Go to Birmingham-1963 and Bud, Not Buddy.
I first spotted C.P.C. sitting in the audience as he was listening to another presenter. He was sitting right in front of me and I used great restraint by not taking a selfie of me with the back of his head! Fortunately, the following day I spotted Curtis sitting alone while taking a break from giving speeches and signing books and talking to fans. I seized the opportunity to have my 20-year-old copy of Watson’s signed and have my picture taken with him.

More books by Christopher Paul Curtis!
The Mighty Miss Malone        

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