ALA Conference

Going to the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC was a wonderful experience!

I was especially thrilled by the chance to attend the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Award Banquet.  I loved this year’s Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron, and it’s no surprise that Susan Patron is a fantastic speaker!  After all, she’s a wonderful writer, and she wrote her own speech.  It was funny, insightful–and I was thrilled to hear it in person.

The Caldecott speech by David Wiesner was also excellent.  And it was a treat to see the video tribute to James Marshall for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

In all, some of the high points of the conference were meeting authors–and getting advance review copies of their books.  Two ARC’s I’m especially excited about are Shannon Hale’s and Jerry Spinelli’s sequel to Stargirl, titled, Love, Stargirl.

The Printz Award Meeting and Reception was another highlight.  Unlike the Newbery Award, all of the honorees gave speeches, not just the big winner.  I thought the winner, Gene Luen Yang for American-Born Chinese, was absolutely brilliant.  And I’ve been a huge M. T. Anderson fan ever since I read Feed.  (Although I bought the book for my son for Christmas last year, I have not read his latest book, for which he won a Printz Honor.  But I will!)  I think his sense of humor is brilliant, and his insight into today’s culture is hard-hitting–both those things were clearly evident again in his speech.

I got to meet both of those authors at the YA Author Breakfast, and I will post pictures.  That breakfast was a whole lot of fun.  They said to “think speed dating,” and had the authors spending 10 minutes at each big round table.  It would have been nice if there were either more authors or fewer tables, but it was still a lot of fun.

More author talks were also highlights.  I guess I’m a writer at heart, and hearing other writers talk about their craft inspires me.  I’m also a new, idealistic library science student, very excited about finishing my degree this year and beginning a career as a librarian, with the glorious job of connecting people and books.

Other wonderful author talks were by Lois Lowry at the Margaret Edwards Luncheon, and Judy Blume.  So inspiring!

One place I didn’t expect to see authors was at the oh-so-fun Book Cart Drill Team Championships.  The hosts were Jon Scieszka and Mo Willems!  They are every bit as funny as the books they write, and I was thrilled to have front row seats to see them, even if the Book Cart Drill Teams hadn’t been so much fun.

Yes, I went to some workshops, too.  I enjoyed the one called “What’s the Big Idea?” about using story times to teach early math and science concepts.  It ties in well with the training we already received about early literacy.  There are many playful things you can do with kids that will teach them as well as providing a bonding experience.

But especially fun was browsing the booths and collecting ARC’s or buying inexpensive copies of books.  Now I have my old problem in full swing:  So many books, so little time!  I got smart after the first day, and brought a rolling bag to carry my loot.  I filled it each day!  Yikes!  Now there are some fantastic books sitting in my house waiting to be read!


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