Yes, that Mo. Willems. Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny man. Only a few years into my professional career and I have met one of my favorite author/illustrators! And I may have been a little star struck (my friend Sam said I was a chicken), but I did actually speak with him! He was at the Kutztown Children's Literature Conference, along with Kate DiCamillo, Christopher Myers, and Eric Rohmann. They were each great, but Mo stole the show!
He gave a lot of food for thought (but in Mo Willems humor) about his role as author/illustrator and the audience's role as teachers/librarians. Other funny parts of his talk included a "readers theater" of Today I Will Fly, in which my friend thought he would get Mo-loving me up on stage by raising his own hand for me, but only succeeded in getting called on stage himself. When Mo was saying his work is about the story and the characters, not him, and so he gets his ego fed other ways... the one-time writer for Sesame Street then pointed out that Elmo is Spanish for "the Mo"! (He later clarified that no, he did not create Elmo.) He also taught the entire audience how to draw Pigeon. And during my one minute autograph session conversation with Mo, I shared that my four year olds loved the name Reginald von Hoobie Doobie from Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She was Extinct, and Mo shared that he uses the phrase "Hoobie Doobie" when he doesn't know the word for something. I'm going to start doing that ;)
All in all, pretty awesome day meeting people who work hard to bring quality work to children's literature. I love what I do :)