Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Eve Tal, Ben Saenz & CPP at NCTE 2009 IN Philly

Cinco Puntos Press had a booth at the annual conference for the National Council of Teachers of English in Philly the weekend before Thanksgiving. It was a great event--English teachers, excited about good books and the teaching of  good books to young people--sharing their ideas and enthusiasm with each other. One particular scene said it all for us. Seeing our edition of Joe Hayes telling the Hispanic legend La Llorona/The Weeping Woman, a young teacher from Illinois began telling us how she teaches the story and how she then will move her class into a discussion of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Another teacher from North Carolina overheard the discussion and asked her a question, and for the next 20 minutes these two teachers stood at our booth discussing books and how and why to use them and what the kids say. It was fun just to listen.

And it got better after the main conference and the exhibit booths closed up shop and the various professional "strands" separated into their own workshops. We were there for the ALAN strand (aka NCTE/Assembly on Literature for Adolescents). The ALAN invited two of our authors EVE TAL (Eve came all the way from her kibbutz in Israel to promote her new historical novel Cursing Columbus about a Russian Jewish immigrant family in NYC's Lower East Side during the early years of last century) and Benjamin Alire Saenz to speak and sign books. It's an interesting concept: 500 teachers of English in a single room listening as a very impressive list of important Young Adult writers give talks ranging from five to 20 minutes. For their attendance, the publishers like CPP give attendees books, and after each writer's talk the teachers line up at autograph tables for the writers to sign their books. The energy for books and literature never flagged. NCTE is an important event and a true testimony to good teachers of literature everywhere.

Be sure to check our blog tomorrow: We'll have a photo of Eve Tal with Walter the Giant (aka Walter Mayes) and the moving speech she gave to the assembled teachers.

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