I haven't a clue where to start with this trip. It was a once in a lifetime trip that I will always remember and I definitely plan on going next year to Chicago! I went with the hint that great things were going to come from it, but I had no clue what all that would entail. I have tons of things to say about the things that I learned and will have one whole blog post on Heather Brewer, Andrea Cremer and Melissa de la Cruz's session on "Why YA Books Relate to Today's Teens." That session blew me away.
I have to tell this story because it was a fan favorite at the conference and when I called home. When my husband dropped me off at the air port there was a lady in front of me checking in with a smaller bag. I thought it looked like the bag that Jessica Simpson carried her dog in but didn't think anything of it. I didn't know that you could take a dog on a plane... I was sure they would have to be crated! Oh no... there was a little white dog in her bag. I looked at my husband and said, "Great! She is going to be in the seat with me and the dog is going to yap the whole way." Well when I got on the plane, she walked right by me and I was so glad! Somehow, I lucked out and didn't have a seat partner on the plane. As we made it to cruising altitude I noticed that the lady beside me was pulling up her bag and didn't think much of it. A little while later I looked over and saw this...
Yes... you are seeing that right! Another dog, only this one was OUT OF THE BAG! The lady had it out and was petting it. My eyes just about popped out of my head and the only thought I had was... "What is this? Noah's ark?" The flight attendant saw my face and made her way back to me and I couldn't help but cut my eyes at the lady across the aisle. Needless to say she was told to put up the dog and made a big fuss about how she had to put it back up. Good lord. I couldn't help but laugh. At that point, I knew it was going to be an interesting trip!
I made it to Orlando and found my way through the Orlando International Airport in great time. I made it to the Coronado Springs Resort and met up with Kellee and Paul for dinner at the House of Blues that night and it was great to listen to stories and share laughs before the wonderful madness of the conference. To say I was overwhelmed when I was able to see what all this conference entailed would be the understatement of the century. The exhibition hall didn't open until late in my mind, but I am glad that I was able to have a bit to look around and get my bearings on what I wanted to do. There were so many amazing sessions to go to and I had to decide which ones to attend. Overall, I think I made the right decisions in each and every one of them. I have lots to say about those as well and that will come later too!
For now, here are some highlights of the conferences:
- I met some amazing YA authors including Andrea Cremer, Maggie Steifvater, Ellen Hopkins, Heather Brewer, Melissa de la Cruz, Gary Paulsen, Adam Rex,
** This is my favorite part... right here.... read it!! Be jealous!!
When I was waiting in line to chat with Ellen, I had my books in hand and was getting pretty excited. I walked up to her (with millions of little butterflies in my tummy) and then she spots me! She looks right at me and says... "You're Jennie Smith!" and I just about DIED!! Ellen Hopkins knew me! It was surreal and it made my day :) Thanks Ellen for being amazing!
- I met some great professional authors and fellow teachers like Ruth Ayres, Stacey Schubitz, Penny Kittle, Donalyn Miller and Linda Rief
- I got to hear Linda Reif drop the "F-bomb" in the most hilarious story I have ever heard... and will share with others because it is too funny.
- I came out of that conference with so much knowledge and so many wonderful ideas to take back to my school that it is taking me this long break to process. I can't wait to implement the ideas and incorporate the things that I have learned into my classroom!
- I have some amazing books to read and my ARC pile is overflowing with the love from the book companies and publishers. I can't wait to read them all!!
- And last but not least, I was able to spend time with my family and got to play Battleship with my sweet cousin Eli. I also got some great books from my Uncle Jim to read also and can't wait to dig into them.
I will definitely have more to post on all of this later but right now I am still trying to catch up on sleep and I am not feeling too well! I have some reviews that need to be typed up too... gotta stop being so dang lazy! Have a great night everyone!