One of the main highlights of our trip to the NAEYC annual conference in Atlanta was attending workshops with, and seeing performances by, some authors and illustrators of children’s books that we love! “Pete the Cat” was a BIG draw this year, and the conference was lucky to have BOTH the author (Eric Litwin) and the creator and illustrator (James Dean) in attendance. What I didn’t expect, was the level of interaction both would have with participants – and it gives me a new appreciation for who they are and what they do.
Author: Eric Litwin
Whenever Mr. Litwin took to the floor at the Exhibition Hall .. crowds followed. Not only was he signing books (and our “stuffed” Pete) … but he entertained us with musical renditions of his books, and some fun, kid-friendly tunes.
Our friend Gerianne got our stuffed Pete signed for us!
Did you KNOW that Eric Litwin has recorded some children’s music? (You probably did, but I didn’t!) And he has a great resource for parents and teachers to use with some of his songs over at www.thelearninggroove.com. We watched him play “I Love It” (click the link to go to his website for the song lyrics and link to iTunes). You can see a little recorded clip of his performance at NAEYC on our Facebook page.
Illustrator: James Dean
One of the first signatures we got was from the creator and illustrator of “Pete the Cat“, James Dean (and he signed Pete’s foot!). We then attended a workshop session featuring a few children’s book authors, but one had to cancel at the last minute … so Mr. Dean stepped in to give us a backstory on how he came up with the illustration for Pete, and subsequently met Mr. Litwin. His story was personal, heartfelt and genuine – and a testiment to doing what you love (who knows where it will take you).
Mr. Dean shared with us his ORIGINAL rendering of Pete (I was kind of far away – but you can see the outline). He talked about other illustrations he did of Pete (before the books) doing un-catlike things … such as drinking coffee and driving a car!
So glad we had a chance to learn more about these men … “cuz it’s all good”!
You can view all our NAEYC conference photos on our Facebook page!