I kicked off with help from Karen Mariani-Mondala at Sulzer Library's Children's Department. We had a lovely session and two children even stood up to teach me a new song!
Then it was on to the Lurie Children's Hospital. I was met by the wonderful Mariana Glusman MD and Elise Groenewegen of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both are so committed to child literacy and gift books to the community as part of the Read-Out-and-Read program.
I met any patients who had appointments that afternoon and we spent some time looking at how a book is made...
from the first ideas,
I was made welcome from the moment I entered the building - what a fantastic place.
Annette Stewart showed me around the children's section and we were joined by two groups from
Roseland Day Care Center. We looked at how Lola came to be then had some stories and songs. The children lifted the roof with If You're Happy and You Know It!
Then it was one last photo with the team and I had to drag myself away once again.
On Thursday morning it was off to meet Starr LaTronica, Vice President/President-elect at Association for Library Service for Children, Youth Services/Outreach Manager at Four County Library System and totally good egg. We agreed on the importance of being earnest - about books and literacy and inclusion and access for all. So much to discuss, so little time - isn't it always the same when you make a new best friend!
While I'd noticed these crazy lions (sorry my Boston colleagues) as I mooched around on Thursday afternoon, as an out of towner, I didn't quite grasp the significance...
So everyone is in high spirits and cheering and waving and I'm trying to push through with a backpack, a suitcase full of soft toys (for Old MacDonald and Five Little Ducks obviously) as well as a guitar! Abandon that idea!
Kelly Hefermann was so kind and helped me to gather myself for a lovely session with great kids from the Children's Depot Playstation, Dolton, alongside some Thomas Hughes Children's Library regulars.
We started with a little story - Lola at the Library of course...
Back on the street and it proved just as difficult to get back up town. More panic - I had a meeting scheduled at the McCormick Place Convention Center at 2.00 and had to check into my hotel, change, dump all my stuff and get out there! Eventually I spotted a rickshaw driver taking fans for little rides and asked if he would take me. He agreed and on I hopped - I quite enjoyed the ride and even more so the astonished faces of the doormen at the hotel when we drew up! (As Donna Spurlock pointed out, since I arrived with a suitcase and then went to check in, they may not have realized I just came from a few blocks down town). So sorry I was too frazzled to take a photo - but found him on the internet - so you just have to imagine me, my suitcase and guitar tootling along! The receptionist at the hotel was not impressed!
Went to the Unity Temple first - so beautiful and still and serene...
Next day was off to the McCormick Place Convention Center. Met Samantha Vamos who was signing copies of her new book, Alphabet Trucks and another new friend, Judy Goldman who was there to sign her new book Whiskers, Tails and Wings and speak at Charlesbridge's Book Buzz session about books from Mexico. I had a chance to look around at the exhibits then back to the Charlesbridge Booth to do some signing and hang out with the dream team...
It was hard to leave and head for the airport - though I did miss everyone from the Stripey Club at Acton library and was glad to see them all again on Tuesday.