Thursday, July 4, 2013

Unpacking from the ALA : Part One

waiting for the shuttle

The ALA Conference in Chicago this past week and weekend reminded me of why I feel so lucky to be part of the children's literature community. Librarians from every state stood in long lines and laughed while they waited for their favorite authors to sign personal copies. These librarians are my heroes. They are the ones who make the connection between the books we write and the kids who read them. Thank you librarians! You make the party.

Another highlight of the convention was the farm tour of City Farm on Chicago's north side. Dan Hurowitz, city farmer, showed us the lush crops of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and herbs, and explained the mission of City Farm. And thanks to Gillian Engberg @ Booklist  who co-sponsored the tour.

urban and farm

Marilyn Ackerman (Brooklyn Public Library) and Susan McConnell of Publishers Group West check out the chickens, who are locked in every night to protect them from urban coyotes


Marilyn Ackerman, Rick Brooks (Little Free Libraries) and Dan Hurowitz talk about tomatoes

The smell of tomato plants mingled with the smell of city buses and we were glad to think of the neighbors who come to this corner farm to buy fresh food two or three times a week. The farm also sells to area restaurants.

Urban farming came into the convention center in the Readers to Eaters booth as Philip and June Lee of Readers to Eaters Books and I were excited to share advance copies of Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table.

from left: Philip Lee, me, June Lee

 So many librarians told us of gardens at their schools, or libraries, or in their communities. I'm hoping they all send photos so we can start a page of urban farms and gardens. I want to see those tomatoes growing in buckets, beets in window boxes, potatoes in sacks.  

And, while visiting with friends at the Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago, I looked out the window to see this green rooftop.  

Green is growing--and that's exciting.

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