On Friday I had the pleasure of seeing Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur, speak. Awesome! Marc Brown was this year's speaker at the Beginning Reading Conference at the University of Northern Iowa and I was thrilled to be allowed a day off of work to go to this.
I was also lucky enough to get to the conference early enough that I had a seat in the second row, just behind where Brown sat before he was introduced to begin his talk.
During the forty five minutes Brown spoke, he read his newest Arthur book, Arthur Goes Green, acknowleding that this was an audience who wouldn't be put to sleep by an adult reading to them. As you can see from the pictures, Brown shared some tricks about how to draw his characters with us.
His speech touched on a variety of topics:
*the state of children's literature and how celebrity authors have managed to garner big dollars for their books that aren't truly quality children's books (Amen to that!).
*he Today show's snub of the Newbery and Caldecott winners this year due to lack of time. On that day's show they did manage to devote 15 minutes to Snooki.
*Brown shared with us the real-life people who he based his characters on: his sisters became D.W. His best friend in third grade was Buster. The Brain and Sue Ellen were also in his classroom composite. Brown remembers getting in trouble for two things: daydreaming and drawing when he was at school. Both of those things later helped him to create Arthur.
I walked away from Brown's talk feeling happy that I was able to see this children's literature rock star in person. He came across as a nice, kind man. Later when I went to have my books signed by him, time was short because his plane's departure time was moved up an hour. Despite the fact that we were not able to pose for pictures with him due to lack of time, I still felt as though he took time to look at each person in line and make eye contact with each of us.
My daughters were disappointed they didn't get to meet this icon of children's literature. Brown did meet with groups of elementary school students during his brief stop in Iowa, but sadly, we do not live in the district where he visited. Brown shared a few of his future projects with us, and I am so hoping that there are more adventures with Arthur yet to come.