Two big surprises at the Literacy Conference in Burlington last weekend.
- The onsite bookseller, Different Drummer, had on hand a big stack of Love Every Leaf: The Life of Cornelia Hahn Oberlander – and it wasn’t scheduled for release till several days later! (It looks gorgeous, and after I spoke about it briefly during my keynote address, they sold out quickly.)
- The night before the conference, I learned that Janet Lee Stinson and Arnie Stewart (see I’ve Got Mail posting) were planning to attend. Not only did I get to meet these two remarkable people, Arnie helped make my keynote address a truly memorable event for everyone there.
After mentioning the correspondence I’d been enjoying with Janet Lee, I looked around for where they might be sitting, thinking the audience might like to recognize them. But Arnie surprised me (and his wife and Janet Lee) by coming up to the front of the room, where he described letters he has exchanged with children who have struggled with learning to read. He said he knows he will like my new book, A Pocket Can Have A Treasure In It. He then took from his pocket a stone and placed it in my hand. “Put this in your pocket,” he said, “and it will bring you good luck.”
Before going off to sign autographs (for 3 hours! what a great bunch of readers that audience was!), I had a chance to visit with Arnie and hear some more of his personal stories about learning to read. Janet Lee is working on his biography and plans to apply to a writing workshop/retreat that my husband and I are offering this summer. (See “Summer Workshop/Retreat by the Sea” posting.) I hope she does!