Monday, 6 June 2016

Thank You English Language Learners Conference, Watertown SD!

In early May I heard about the English Language Learners Mini Conference in Watertown, South Dakota on June 1 and 2, 2016 Even though I'm not from North or South Dakota, I was invited to attend as a vendor and I considered it. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to share Hutterite Diaries with the teachers in attendance, in the hopes that my book will find its way into more Hutterite schools, because I firmly believe Hutterite schools need books written by their own people. I've seen over and over how excited Hutterite children get when they're able to identify with the culture, characters and language (they all have some Hutterisch words) in these books. And I want every Hutterite child to experience that joy, and dream about having their own beautiful stories published one day.

HB Book Centre here in Manitoba carries a number of Hutterite-written and illustrated picture books already.  Some are also available on Amazon. I hope there are more to come in the not so distant future.

I exchanged a few emails with one of the organizers, Gwyneth Dean-Witte. In one of them I expressed my regret at not being able to attend the conference, as June is such a busy time here. I wondered if there was some other way I could share my book with them. That's when this sweet lady suggested I send her 25 books and she'd sell them for me. Wow! I don't know this lady at all, and have only exchanged some emails with her; which makes this offer even more special. I didn't even question whether I should risk sending a box of books to her or not. It just felt right and that she was indeed a genuinely kind person.

Furthermore, Ms. Witte didn't say it in so many words, but her excitement over my book was obvious; I was convinced she sees the value of Hutterite children having the chance to read books written by their own people. And for that I am as grateful as I am about the fact that she kindly offered to sell my book at their conference.

I was relieved when she sent me an email, with the subject line: Books arrived!  (Was a little worried that they may not make it in time) The picture said it all; it seems she couldn't wait to get inside to open the box. But placed it on the shiny black hood of her car, (I hope it didn't get scratched) and captured the moment and sent it my way. At least that's what it looks like to me. It's quite possible that she has another story.

I had ordered 25 books to be sent to Ms. Witte and was pleasantly surprised that all but three of them were sold!  I'm delighted that there are now 22 more Hutterite schools that have Hutterite Diaries on their bookshelf. Another step in getting all Hutterite-written books into every Hutterite school!

My heartfelt thanks to Gwyneth Dean-Witte for making that step possible and to all the teachers who bought it! Ms. Witte could have just as easily not offered to have my books at the conference, but out of the goodness of her heart she did. And not only that, but told me about an upcoming conference on Fargo, ND; another opportunity to put Hutterite Diaries into the hands of Hutterite Educators. I sincerely hope we meet some day, so that I can thank her in person. In the mean time I hope she enjoys the copy of Hutterite Diaries I gave her. 

This is yet another one of those unexpected, and heart-warming Hutterite Diaries related stories.

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