With special guests Laurent Linn, Lesléa Newman, Bruce Coville, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Emma Dryden, Marietta Zacker, Jane Yolen, April Powers, and Lin Oliver, over 150 of us gathered in community.
We opened the circle. Screen after screen of live video, seeing each other, acknowledging each other, even those whose cameras were off, knowing we were all there supporting each other,
We introduced our special guests.
We zoomed into breakout groups (rooms) for 5-6 people introductions
We came back for questions and answers with our special guests, talking about safe space between a book's covers and in the world for LGBTQAI+ authors and illustrators, about including diversity in respectful ways and career guidance for those of us writing Queer stories, and more.
Then we zoomed into small breakout groups again, this time organized by what folks wanted to talk about:
PB - those who wanted to talk about picture books and works for children
MG - those who wanted to talk about middle grade books and works for middle grade readers
YA - those who wanted to talk about young adult books and works for teen readers
We gathered back as a large community for a final closing moment, and then over 100 of us stayed and shared for another twenty minutes.
It was powerful. Joyful. And in this moment of physical distancing, socially connected.