Dublin Literacy Conference 2019 – where do I start? This conference is always the perfect pick me up at the end of February – hearing the messages from others passionate about learning, connecting with the many committed educators who come together to learn, and feeling the excitement that a love of learning creates.

This year I had the opportunity to learn from two amazing authors through their presentations, but also in personal conversation. And can I just say that my YA author fangirl-ship grew exponentially!

Hena Khan, one of the loveliest people I have ever met in my life, is one of those people who effortlessly makes those around her smile. She writes books so that while reading young people today do not have to “accept the fact that no one looks like [them]” and will never think “my story doesn’t matter.”

Humility, intimacy, and gratitude were not just the main points of Jason Reynolds’ keynote, these are the characteristics he exhibited from the moment we picked him up in the morning until the last book was signed that evening.

And these authors are not just super awesome people – they are 100% committed to the readers of their books. Over and over I heard thank yous to teachers for putting books into the hands of students. When I told Jason that my 8th-grade son asked me to tell him “I think he writes good books” Jason’s smiling response was “I’ll take it.” Hena shared that the best part of the day was when the students who attended her family session earlier in the day came back hours later to get their books signed. The words and actions of each of them reminded me of how awesome it is to spend most days of my life surrounded by these curious, talented, opinionated, lovestruck, confused teenagers and reminded me how important it is that they know that “it’s okay.”

Thank you to everyone who helped this YA author fangirl learn at this year’s Dublin Literacy Conference.

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