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Conference at Utah Valley University

2011 March 24
by prgiff

The house I’ve written about so often is tucked in the Catskills of New York State: gentle mountains, softened by evergreens. Imagine my delight to be asked to speak in Utah. The mountains there are serious mountains, soaring, snow covered, breathtaking.
It was a wonderful conference at the Utah Valley University: A Forum for Engaged Reading. I laughed over Christopher Paul Curtis’s riotous presentation; I wanted to sit down in an armchair next to one of those huge windows and reread his books—I’d certainly hear his voice again as I read BUD, NOT BUDDY.
I was awed by Steve Jenkins’ illustrations. How moving to see the six year old Steve’s work—penciled animals, a sign of what would come, those beautifully executed drawings he does now. Don’t miss DOWN, DOWN, DOWN: A JOURNEY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. I think kids will love this look at the depths.
Always there’s a bonus for me. And this time the bonus was huge. I listened to Dr. David Booth, Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. His voice is soft, his message is powerful…and delivered with wit and wisdom. I brought one of his books home with me. It’s called READING DOESN’T MATTER ANYMORE…and every teacher, every writer, every librarian…wait…everyone, should read it. He adds to that title, the words Unless We… and what he tells us is pertinent and thought provoking and talks abot a new definition of literacy. Read this book. You won’t forget it.
So I’m home now from Utah, enriched, delighted to have been a part of it. If only it would stop snowing here in Connecticut, I couldn’t ask for more!

3 Responses leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011

    Cool! Check out my website!

  2. March 24, 2011

    How delightful! I wish I could have been in attendance. I went to school just right up the road from there, at Brigham Young University. I sure do miss those mountains.

  3. T McCulloch permalink
    April 22, 2011

    Patricia Rielly Giff is as delightful in person as her characters are in her books. I was truly inspired by the sessions Mrs. Giff gave. She reawakened the desire for me to write my families stories, mingled with fiction. She also let me know that it was possible, while teaching full-time. Although I don’t have a “closet office” in the kitchen where I can go each evening for a half an hour, I will start writing my first book from a corner of the kitchen table.

    Mrs. Giff’s books “Nory Ryan’s Song,” “Maggie’s Door” and “Lilly’s Crossing” helped cement my daughters and I relationship during a rough transition time (moving to a new city and school). We spent long hours discussing these books and the characters. We found that “book talks” led to heart-to-heart discussions about the angst of moving, friends and puberty!

    Now, with the new series, ZigZag kids, I get to share Patricia Rielly Giff’s books with my second grader and I can’t wait until she grows into the Nory’s book series.

    Thank you Mrs. Giff for taking the time to come to Utah and sharing your stories with all of us!

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