From Monday April 15 through Thursday April 18 librarians from across Texas are gathering together in Austin to caucus, learn, meet and discover at the annual Texas Library Association Conference. Dozens of authors are present for the event with panels sprinkled throughout the week.
This morning’s panel was filled with Texas authors of books for children and young adults. Crystal Allen, Varsha Bajaj, Jennifer Coleman, Susan Kralovansky, Lindsay Leslie, Carmen Oliver, Charlotte Sullivan Wild and Don Tate were all on hand to discuss their writing experiences, best school visits and upcoming titles.
When asked what advice she gives young writers, Crystal Allen shared, “I tell kids to empty out. Whatever is inside of you, you need to get it out.”
Author and Illustrator Don Tate shared a story about visiting a school and later receiving a very touching letter from a student who dreamed of being a paleontologist. Don gathered as many books as he could about dinosaurs and sent them to the boy. It turned out that the librarian from his school was in the room. She raised her hand and said, “you’ll never know how much that meant to him, you made his year!”
While growing up Varsha Bajaj read primarily Western stories. She loved escaping to books about what was for her, another culture. “I grew up in India reading Western stories my whole life. I feel like I want to reciprocate.”