New Jersey Association of School Librarians Conference 11-14 & 11-15-08


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Friends:

I arrived in East Brunswick, New Jersey on Thursday, November 13, 2008 at the Hilton Hotel for the New Jersey Association of School Librarians Conference. After signing books at the Libraries Unlimited booth, I went to dinner with Debby Laboon (Libraries Unlimited’s Authors Respresentative) and Anne Scharff (Greenwood Press’ Sales Representative). We met Judy Freeman and her sweet husband, Izzy, at a restaurant in New Brunswick called Soho. Dinner was delicious. After returning to hotel, I went to my room, Skyped with my family and then crashed.

The morning of November 14, I attended a session by Wayne Free, who works with the Louisiana Association of Educators. The room was small and the crowd was spilling into the hallway. Wayne spoke about how librarians could incorporate using media (the Internet, etc.) into their library lesson plans.

Wayne Free 11-14-08

Wayne Free 11-14-08

After Wayne’s session, I attended Judy Freeman’s session on picture book “Winners.” It was a fabulous session and her room was full. Judy is so animated and energetic, a great storyteller, singer, and entertainer. The books she showcases are definitely winning reads. This is Judy reading Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel.

Judy Freeman 11-14-08

Judy Freeman 11-14-08

I had to leave Judy’s workshop a tad early because I had to set up for my workshop. I presented “Handmade Tales.” Here are the attendees creating “Joseph Had An Overcoat” cut -and-tell story.

NJASL Workshop Participants creating "Joseph Had an Overcoat Cut and Tell" - 11-14-08

NJASL Workshop Participants creating "Joseph Had an Overcoat Cut and Tell" - 11-14-08

We were having so much fun in the workshop. They really enjoyed “Bandana Man,” an adaptation of “The Gingerbread Man” done with a bandana.

NJASL Workshop Participant with "Bandana Man" - 11-14-08

NJASL Workshop Participants with "Bandana Man" - 11-14-08

Look at this cutie! He was the old woman in “Bandana Man.”

The Old Woman in "Bandana Man" - 11-14-08

The Old Woman in "Bandana Man" - 11-14-08

I received rave reviews on my workshop from the workshop participants. It was so much fun. Afterward, I went to the Libraries Unlimited booth to sign books. Then it was time for dinner. I went to dinner with Debby Laboon, Judy Freeman, and Susan Fichtelberg (another LU author). We ate at a swanky diner that had the best food and we had the best time.

Susan Fichtelberg, Debby Laboon, Dianne de Las Casas & Judy Freeman - 11-14-08

Susan Fichtelberg, Debby Laboon, Dianne de Las Casas & Judy Freeman - 11-14-08

The next day, Saturday, November 15, 2008, I ate a quick buffet breakfast at the hotel’s cafe and then headed to the ballroom to set up my second “Handmade Tales” workshop. Another author was presenting and went over time, giving me less than 10 minutes to set up. I was frantic!

Nevertheless, I had a room full of enthusiastic librarians, who enjoyed the workshop as much as the previous group. Here is a workshop participant’s rendition of an original draw-and-tell story, “The Emperor’s Dragon.”

Draw-and-tell Story "The Emperor's Dragon" - 11-15-08

Draw-and-tell Story "The Emperor's Dragon" - 11-15-08

Here is a table of librarians who are all “Reading Stars!” The star is made with a single sheet of paper, five folds and one snip of the scissors. The librarian on the right is author Susan Fichtelberg.

The Magic Star - 11-14-08

The Magic Star - 11-14-08

My final story was “The Stubborn Turnip,” a string story adaptation of the Russian tale “The Enormous Turnip.” Below, workshop participants celebrate their successful attempt to make the string bowl in the story.

"The Stubborn Turnip" String Bowl - 11-14-08

"The Stubborn Turnip" String Bowl - 11-14-08

Both of my workshops were full of lively librarians who appreciate the hands-on activities of the workshop. I had a great time presenting at the New Jersey Association of School Librarians state conference. The 2009 Conference Chair attended my first workshop and asked me to return next year. Now that gives me warm fuzzies all over! My Handmade Tales book sold out even before my first presentation began – wow!

Thank you so much to the conference chair, Pam Cheskey, the conference staff (especially Aliah), and all the lovely librarians who chose to attend my session when there were other wonderful sessions ongoing simultaneously. Thank you to all the librarians who helped me set up and pack up, especially Karen and Wendy. I just love librarians! They are always willing to lend a hand.

A special thank you to Debby Laboon (I just luv u!) and Anne Scharff (my bud), who are both wonderful women. I so appreciate what you do for my books!

Happy Tales to You! Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne