Sherman Alexie made the first keynote address this morning. Time after time, he had the more than one thousand attendees rolling on the floor with laughter. Later in the speech, many of us were also wiping discreet tears from our eyes, as he had a lot to say about the importance of books in a young person's life. He praised librarians for getting the "right" books into the right hands. He said that he's heard the same story over and over from teens, which is that they feel their lives are being controlled, and that they don't have any choice in the outcome. He said this is true, no matter what the teen's race or economic status. He also said that writers are in the business of saving people, one reader at a time. It shouldn't be surprising that someone who is so gifted as a storyteller would be equally as gifted at addressing an audience. I've not been someone who has heroes in my life, but Sherman Alexie immediately became one for me.