The highlight of the 2011 NE SCBWI Conference for me was meeting Tomie dePaola, one of the greatest children's book illustrators and one that I admire. Tomie dePaola awarded me the 2011 Tomie dePaola Award this January. It was so exciting to finally meet him and have a chance to talk to him. Tomie was so generous with giving his advice and encouragement. He really made me feel that I'm on the right track and that the hard work that I put into my work will soon pay off. Moments like this make you slow down, take a moment and appreciate what you have accomplished. Plus, Tomie has a quirky sense of humor that I love in people. His hilarious stories made me and my fellow illustrators roar with laughter. It was a fun fun time at the conference. Thank you, Tomie!