Slice of Life – NCTE Reflections

28 November 2023

I guess “Reflections” in my title is a bit of a stretch because I didn’t actually take time to reflect much yet. Instead, I wanted to get some thoughts down and share some photos. There is so much more to say about the whole NCTE experience, but for now here are some of my delighted, though surfacy, highlights.


  • Having presentations to attend where I knew presenters, like fellow Slice of Life writers–Glenda, Sally, Margaret and Trish.
Sally and I with Glenda at her round table discussion on “Planning with Purpose”
Trish inspiring us at “English Language Arts and the Climate Crisis”
  • Presenting and rooming with Mo and Jennifer
Sarah Donovan was the lead presenter, but sadly we took no photos of her.
  • Hearing Jacqueline Woodson and Tom Hanks


This beautiful mural in the Convention Center with my favorite word
That yellow book on the top shelf is one I wrote with Gallit Zvi, and there it was on display in the exhibit hall.
I had several opportunities to write poetry. It is such a peaceful practice during a busy conference. I bought some new Poetry Spark cards–examples on lower left (moon, echo, distant)
We went to the Scholastic brunch and heard these four authors and received their books–Alan Gratz, Joanna Ho, Ali Terese, and Ann E. Burg.
My return flight was on Southwest, so I was able to check a bag and a suitcase full of books I received from the conference. Free books and free transport for them. They will do a lot of good in my community.
The fall leaves were gorgeous, as was the neighborhood Airbnb we stayed in together

New Connections

  • Meeting Victoria Pasquantonio, a fun and passionate educator who is now the education producer at PBS NewsHour Classroom.
  • Meeting Dr. Luz Carime Bersh from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Carime used a kaleidoscope as a beautiful metaphor for the multiple layers of identity.

Delicious Food

  • Restaurants at the Short North Arts District on High Street in Columbus were a definite high–but I didn’t take any photos! My favorite was Brassica, where we ate dinner two nights in a row.

9 thoughts on “Slice of Life – NCTE Reflections

  1. Denise, I wrote a post about BCTE, too, but I can’t share it because something glitchy is going on w/ the TWT site. I’m frustrated. Anyway, I have that same photo of you and Sally in my post today.

  2. Thanks for sharing some of your high points! I am sharing your moon poem with my class tomorrow- they will use it to practice fluency and I will think of you every time I hear it.

  3. Denise, thaks for inclusing me in your reflection!! I loved seeing you in person. I didn’t know you co-authored a book!!! WOW!! Thanks for including this info in your post. Also fun to see the conference through your eyes and actions!! Next time, I’ll work harder to spend more time with you.

  4. Denise, these photos are so inspiring to me. I didn’t get to attend NCTE this year, but I hope to be in Boston next year with everyone. At the time, I was so hopeful to be there this year, and was so disappointed. But the good Lord always knows more than I think I do, and as it turns out, I’m taking this week off to be with one of my adult children who is having surgery. I would never have been able to take off time if I had been at NCTE, so I am grateful now that things turned out the way they did. I love the photos you shared – all the faces and the season of yellow leaves and luggage just warms my heart!

  5. Oh those autumn leaves (and Brassica—the fish tacos!)…Columbus was better than I could ever have imagined. You capture the wide and wonderful, at times overwhelming experience of NCTE here.
    I walked in Goodale Park on Sunday afternoon as gold fell all around, a slowdown that I desperately needed. Thank you, again, for being a cheerleader on Friday. It was just the support I needed.

  6. I enjoyed your pictures and captions. They created a scrapbook, which is a concrete reflection that can be revisited.

  7. Thank you for sharing these moments. I have yet to attend in person, but I am excited that it will be in my home state next year. I will be there.

  8. Loved these reflections! I still need to sit down and reflect – but you have done such a nice job of putting pictures with short reflections … slices of NCTE for sure! I really hope that at the next NCTE I have it together enough to figure out what other slicers are there, and presenting too!

    Awesome with the book! Must be so cool to see it there on the shelf. 🙂

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