Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dallas Children's Book and Literary Festival, 2006

Back row (starting from the second person in): Freddi Williams Evans, Lamberto Alvarez, Paul Epner, David Rice, Don Tate.
Middle row: Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Toni Simmons
Front row: Shirley Duke, Mary Brooke Casad, Alice McGill, Catherine Carrasco Lynch, Willy Welch

Yesteday, I was reminded why I do what I do — illustrate for children. I spent the day at the Dallas Children's Book and Literary Festival held at the Dallas Public Library. This event puts authors and illustrators from around the country into inner city classrooms around Dallas. Events like keep me on focus. It's not about art directors or editors or agents, though I need them to reach the kids. It's not about this blog, or other author/illustrator blogs, or websites. It's not about reading conferences, book signings, or paid speaking engagements. It's all about the kids because without them, we'd be writing and illustrating about... gas prices, or something.

Top: Freddi Williams Evans, Don Tate, Alice McGill.
Don Tate, Coretta Scott King winner Jan Spivey Gilchrist. She's illustrated over 60 children's books and authored 4. She claims to be old enough to be my mother. She looks like she could be my baby sister. No joke.

Dallas West Branch Library displays all the books I've illustrated!

High point: The night of the social turned into a mini Des Moines family reunion. One of the librarians used to attend my church back home in Des Moines. Author/storyteller Toni Simmons and her husband Frank lived in Des Moines for many years, and turned out we knew many of the same people. So, we all spent a good deal of time reminiscing about Des Moines folks. Four black folk in a Dallas library with Des Moines roots. How unlikely is that?

Other high point: The young African American girl that I sat next to, who was such a a voracious reader, and who spoke so articulate, who played the piano, and told me, in detail about a novel that she wants to write. She wasn't but maybe 10, but she started out telling me how her novel was set in the rural south, 1940s, and the details of her story were so vivid, real. I just know that this little girl is going to do big things.

Low point: It was a good time. There really weren't any low points.


Anonymous said...

Don - it looks like you had a grand time! Be sure to give me a wave as you pass by on your shooting star.

And you're welcome for the shout-out.

Susan Taylor Brown

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

There's been talk, in the writers circles I frequent, about the best marketing tools for authors/illustrators. And how some people take it too far.

Too pushy, too agressive about selling their work.

In our quest to make a living off our work and just make it, period, it's easy to forget why we do it.

Sounds like you had a great reminder!