I met Jerry Spinelli last night - my first thought - he looks like my DAD! I wonder if he is Irish?
He was in town for the IRA conference and did a presentation for educators at the FABULOUS bookstore, Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA. It was a small gathering (although there were quite a few kids there and my 10 year old daughter was DYING to go, but I told her it was just for teachers - oh well!) and we got a seat right up front - which was good because the acoustics were HORRIBLE in the loft area of the store where his presentation was, plus they had an author event downstairs with Rick Riordan with about a million (ok, I am exaggerating a bit) 10 year olds waiting to get their books signed.
Teacher Ninja was also at the event, and he says he called my name, but between the noise and trying to get out of there to get some food, I didn't hear him - he has a great review of the event also!
My favorite part of his talk was when he told us he doesn't write for a specific audience, he just writes the story - WOW! He also told us about how he has a story idea and he takes it to lunch and lets it "talk to him", tell him it's story - again - WOW.
My son's 6th grade class is reading Maniac Magee right now and I had Mr. Spinelli sign a copy of his newest book for my son - I am hoping that maybe he will read it this summer. My son is NOT a reader, and Mr. Spinelli told us that he was not either - he was a baseball player - which is what my son is also - so I got a little bit of HOPE from Mr. Spinelli - maybe there is hope that Ryan will find the right book and reading will become something he enjoys. Mr. Spinelli told me to tell him to READ inbetween playing ball - good advice!!
I have been so lucky lately. In the past few months I have met Jerry Spinelli, Mo Willems, Coleen Salley and a few other authors - we are really lucky here in Atlanta to have such opportunities!