I had the pleasure of meeting MaryAnn Kohl last month at an early childhood education conference. I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the two of us together — I even had my camera and everything. Guess I was having too much fun.
MaryAnn first came on my radar almost six years ago when Maia was a baby and I was starting to think about children's art. Her book First Art introduced me to the joys of art with toddlers. I've learned so much over the years from her many books, fun activities, positive attitude, and her sheer contagious enthusiasm for children's art.
When I started blogging, I got up the gumption to reach out and ask for an interview. That first lovely interview was followed by another and then another. She is always generous about sharing her self, her knowledge, and her love of children's art. But while we've corresponded by e-mail and talked on the phone, I wasn't sure if or when we would meet in person since we live on opposite sides of the country.
So when she told me she'd be presenting at an early childhood education conference only an hour away from where I live and asked me to join her for the day, I jumped at the opportunity.
We talked, wandered the conference halls, hung out at her book signing table and ate lunch together, she packed me a bag of art supplies left over from her presentation (I love free art supplies!), and we sat in on a presentation by author/illustrator Denise Fleming. It was lovely to spend time with MaryAnn in person.
And as I work on my book, I am just amazed that she's done this 23 times and counting! That she has written 23 books sharing her knowledge and love of children's art with countless children, parents, and teachers all over the country and the world. So while I call MaryAnn my friend, she is also my personal hero.