Lots of Love at ILA Conference, Read and Grow, Grow and Read

The International Literacy Association Conference was so much fun.  I had a great drive to Boston; no traffic and the parking was a breeze.  You have got to love that!  Also, I can never, ever, ever be too thankful for my Tom Tom.  I must admit here that I really, truly could not find my way out of a paper bag, especially a Boston paper bag.
I made two great new Creston Books friends, Robin Newman, author of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and Darlene Beck Jacobson, author of  Wheels of Change.  Now that I call a successful day!
It's lucky me sandwiched between Robin and Darlene.  We are a little blurry!  Googly vision!
 It looks like my lanyard is attacking me yet I look so calm.
It was also a great pleasure to meet Helen Chin, who graciously let us take over the Publishers Group West booth with our books and swag; and a zillion thanks to Helen for the chocolate! Don't have to ask me twice woman!

Most of all thank you to all of the teachers, librarians, speech therapists, reading specialists, and many others who giggled like kids as I handed them googly eyes saying, "Be on the lookout for Mr. Small."   It was wonderful to see so many smiles.   
To everyone who took home a copy of THE BIG ADVENTURES OF MR. SMALL and THE LITTLE TREE; I  hope you and your families and students enjoy reading them.  As I handed these lovely folks their signed copies of the books,  I was so grateful for all of the heartfelt thank yous,  some with hugs and selfies!   There was lots of love at ILA!

Googly eye packet organization.

And I got so much bling, some of which I am going to donate to our local library!

Lots of Goodies!
Age and Wisdom?  Perhaps?
When I was younger, at such a conference, I would have been overwhelmed and a bit intimidated in the face of all of the big publishers and famous names.  I might have even felt a bit jealous.   I didn't feel any of that.  I was content to observe.  
And I thought, who really knows what makes a great book, after all beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but for me, I hope, that laughter, joy and a sense of wonder and optimism  and the celebration of  life shine through our books and in our world and our own selves.
I hope that everyone returned safely home and I would like to visit another conference some time soon.  I didn't  know what I have been missing.  
Grow and read.  Read and grow.