Then get on over here for information about Simmons College's Center for the Study of Children's Literature's 2007 Summer Institute, Food, Glorious Food, held July 26-29. I've participated in several of these events and they are always enlightening, spirited, and impeccably managed. PLUS: Susan Bloom, Professor Emerita of the Center and I believe still mistress of the Institute, is one fabulous hostess and chef, and you know, given the theme, that she will be forced to outdo herself. So come for Alice Hoffman and stay for the cupcakes.
For those with more than a weekend's time on their hands, Deborah Stevenson, editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, will be leading the summer graduate-credit course that leads up to the Institute. Deborah is the smartest person I have ever known, and the fact that she will always be two steps ahead of your question before you've even asked it should not deter you from taking this class. She's as funny as she is formidable, too.
One more point re food, children's literature, and Deborah. When we worked together at BCCB, Deborah figured out exactly what kind of book I liked to read while eating my lunch. I would hear her call "lunch book!" while waving a galley at me from across the office. I was thinking about this last week while watching a Law & Order re-run and eating pretzels. It was a good episode, and one I hadn't seen before (murder among Iraqi emigre caviar dealers), but as soon as I ran out of pretzels, I ran out of interest, too. It's the same with lunch books: they are books I can read only when I'm eating. As soon as I'm done eating, whammo, I'm done reading. It happened recently with a new Alias-knockoff teen paperback original. I guess it has to do with how much attention a book requires, and it explains why people who watch TV get fat--there's nothing on that would get between me and my food.