Since the date and place for the 2015 KidlitCon has been announced and the call for proposals is out, we thought it’d be fun to highlight the one person (that we know of; there may be others) that has been to every single KidlitCon since it started back in 2007. Maureen was more than happy to take a moment out of her busy life and answer our questions.
Tell us a bit about your blog.
I have two blogs, Confessions of a Bibliovore and Kid Tested, Librarian Approved. Confessions is my teen/MG blog (mostly teen) and Kid Tested is my picture book/early reader blog (heavily, heavily picture book.) I’ve also done storytime stuff on the Kid Tested blog.
How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?
I have two beginnings as a blogger. In 2002 when I was preparing to study overseas in the UK, I wrote a very general blog about the process of getting there, and later my adventures as a USian student in the UK. I often included a little something about what I was reading. I let it lapse after I came back stateside. When I went into library school in 2004, I picked it up again, with a focus on kid’s books (among other things like TV shows and movies, at first, but eventually all that dropped off). Same site, which is why my URL is bloodyyank, because the first iteration was called Diary of a Bloody Yank. Fun fact: my very first post as a book blogger was Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. Spoiler: I loved it.
You have the honor of being the only blogger to attend all 8 (so far) KidLitCons. Why did you start going, and why do you keep coming back?
I went the first time because I really wanted to meet the people whose blogs I read. I have a brother who lives in Chicago, so I decided to visit him and spend the day at the conference. I keep coming back mostly for the same reason – the people. It’s good to go through sessions and think about what we’re doing and why and how it’s working and not working but really? I want to see old friends and meet new ones.
What advice would you give to a first-time attendee?
Don’t be afraid to get in there. I understand about being shy and overwhelmed, especially . Lots! of! People!!! is not my thing either, in general. But this has always been a small conference, so it’s less intimidating in that way. Plus, you’ve got an automatic in, because you know everybody in the room also loves kidlit and is a big giant nerd. If you don’t want to speak up in person, do it via Twitter. The Tweeting that goes on during KidlitCon is so valuable because they provide a backchannel discussion of what the speaker is saying, and also others who are not actually in the room can chime in. Try making one introduction to one person. “Hi, I’m so and so, this is my blog / Twitter handle / Tumblr.” Sit with a different person in the next session. Introduce yourself to them. Sit with them at lunch. At dinner. During breaks. Last resort: “So what are you reading right now?” will always get a passionate reply, unlike in the Muggle world.
What’s your favorite kidlit book you’ve read in the past year?
You’re going to make me choose?! Okay . . . I’m going to say Rosamund Hodge’s Crimson Bound. It’s not perfect but it’s dark and sexy and gothic and complicated.