We had a lovely meeting on September 6, 2011, hosted by Lorelei Ennis at Temple Dor Dorim in Weston. After a welcome from Rabbi Lipson, we ate a delicious lunch while listening to a presentation by Jacques Weisel (a relative of Elie Weisel), who is an author, humanitarian, and life coach. He spoke about his childhood during the Holocaust and the many remarkable circumstances that allowed him to survive.
After lunch, we browsed a display of Sydney Taylor Book Award winners, honors, and notable books set up by Lorelei. Etta Gold and Heidi Estrin reported on the AJL Convention held this June in Montreal, Canada. Etta spoke feelingly about the value of the annual gathering. Heidi reminded members that chapter membership is separate from membership in the umbrella organization, and explained that AJL dues have gone up for the first time in years, but are still well worth the price. The next convention will be held in Los Angeles, CA, June 17-20, 2012.
Lorelei led a discussion on realism vs. escapism in young adult literature. She became interested in the topic when she read an article in the Wall Street Journal, "Darkness Too Visible" by Meghan Cox Gurdon, published June 4 with a follow-up on June 28, 2011. The article created a furor in the children's literature community when Gurdon suggested that gritty realistic YA fiction was harmful to readers.
We discussed the possibility of meeting at Dor Dorim again later this fall, but perhaps asking attendees to bring brown bag lunches rather than rely on Dor Dorim to supply lunch. Thanks to all for an excellent meeting.