In the opening session on the last day of the IRA Convention, we heard two great speakers. The first was the Mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we hear more nationally from this talented young politician.
The second speaker was Mo Willems, and I kind of feel as though I shouldn't tell you what he said. That's because he started his talk by asking people not to take pictures or record him. "We don't need to record it; we need to experience it. If someone asks you what it was like, say, 'You missed it.'" Consequently, Willems did a "photo shoot" where he pranced about on the stage and encouraged people to take pictures. After that, he commanded everyone to put away their devices, and promised to "shame" anyone who didn't comply. At intervals during his presentation, he would point fiercely at someone who was filming him or taking his picture and intone, "You are shamed!"
So if you want to know what Mo Willems said to us, sorry, you missed it. It was really great, though.
OK, I'll tell you a few things he said. He taught us how to draw the pigeon! He said that life is pretty unpleasant for little kids, living in a world where all the furniture is made for someone bigger, and they have to get permission to go to the bathroom and get in trouble when they talk to people. He said that the problem with Go, Dog. Go is that the poodle doesn't have any emotional life. Willems has tried to avoid that problem in his own books, because, "Children have real emotional lives. They're just newer than us." He added a truth any parent can agree with: "Books are not meant to be read; books are meant to be read a billionty times." Willems' books are read a billionty times by kids who love them, and teachers love him too; you should have seen the huge lines of teachers waiting to get their copies of his books autographed.
Here's a little taste of Mo:
54 minutes ago