In 1991, as a senior (cough, six year senior) I attended a conference at the University of North Dakota for children’s book writers and illustrators. I worked the registration desk for free admission to the conference. I met a guy who simply called himself “Avi” who convinced me that men — even pretty cool guys with long hair and earrings (I had both, so did he) — could be children’s book authors. Besides that he was gentle and wise and classy and dryly funny and responded well to my unsolicited critique of The Man Who Was Poe, which I told him reinforced a lot of untrue rumors about the poet I had spent much of the last semester studying for a senior seminar.
But I digress.
Twenty years later I return as the featured author. I don’t claim to have Avi-level stature (yet), but it’s so exciting to return to my college campus as the featured author for this conference, which was the first children’s literature event of any kind I participated in. If you live out that way, please come!