I have been off on a series of engagements...first, the Zolotow Lecture at the University of Wisconsin (and that, as the previous ones have been, will be available by webcast (google Zolotow Lecture and you'll get to it); then to New York for a fascinating conference co-sponsored by the Yale Child Study Center and the Anna Freud Centre in London. The title of the daylong event was "Fear and Fiction"..and a subtitle that I don't have in front of me, having to do with literature and the inner life of the child. Nine authors, each speaking abut a particular book he/she had written; and six child analysts and/or therapists, looking at the same books from their standpoint. So different from the "..and then I wrote" type of speech I frequently hear...and give. And a different audence as well, with many mental health professionals attending...and perhaps becoming newly aware, some of them, of the vital role that literature can play in the emotional life of a child.

Following that event, back to Boston where I moderated a panel on children's books that make the transition into film...how it happens, how it sometimes fails, why now and then it is a smooth and lasting transition into a different genre with its own strengths. Panelists were Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, who spoke about and showed a clip from SHILOH; Natalie Babbitt, speaking and showing a piece of TUCK EVERLASTING; and Randy Testa from Walden Media, the company that moved HOLES, HOOT, WINN-DIXIE, and NARNIA...among others...into film. He let us peek at a wonderful but sad (sob, sob) scene from CHARLOTTE'S WEB, due out soon.

Speaking of Charlottes, Alfie has a playdate tomorrow with a young corgi named Charlotte. His other best friend is Sophie, and since he is hanging out with girls so often, it is probably good that he has an appointment in early December for, ah, minor surgery. In the meantime, he starts obedience classes tongiht. I suppose they won't deal with the never-chew-up-a-ballpoint-pen issue.

Now, at home, I must tend the daily domestic chores like grocery-shopping which I have not done in much too long...last night it was take-out Chinese for dinner. And there are movies to catch up on. "Little Children" yesterday. Today, a quick sneak off to (speaking of corgis) "The Queen."