2013 ALA Personal Highlights – Part 3

For a children’s book lover like me, ALA exhibit hall is truly a wonderland… I didn’t take too many pictures and usually don’t wait in line to get autographs.  Still, I enjoyed the energy generated by the enthusiastic crowd of librarians and their families!

One of the most memorable moments for me this year was meeting and talking with Edward Award winning author (for her lasting, and continuing, contribution to young adult literature) Tamora Pierce.  I only wanted to catch her briefly at the Random House party to tell her how much I have enjoyed her fantasy series.  But Tamora was so gracious and I ended up gushing for a long while (in between grateful and emotional tears and sobs) about how much her books have meant to me as a school librarian: her books are constantly the trusted series that I can recommend to many many students who then come back to me to share their admiration and for more titles.  Those who are already in college (or have graduated from college) still talk to me about their memories of reading her books and of my introducing Tamora Pierce to them.  Her books have forged connections between me and my students and between the young readers themselves.  Tamora told me that she strives to better herself still — she writes at least five pages a day, with a writing buddy, who exchanges his writing with her and discuss and critique each other’s work. I told her that some of her older series tended to end up a bit “soap opera”-like (the Wild Magic series came to mind) and she laughed and said that that’s something she no longer does — as a sign of improvement and maturity in her craft.  A new book (Battle Magic) is coming out this fall featuring Briar from the Magic Circle and Circle Opens series about the major war mentioned in some of her earlier books.  Can’t wait!

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Wilder Award winner of lifetime achievements Katherine Paterson signed books and talked to adoring fans.  The line was extremely long!

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Scholastic unveiled the new paperback covers of the Harry Potter series, artwork by Kazu Kibuishi, creator of the popular graphic novel Amulet series.

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I stopped by the Candlewick booth and took a photo of both the poster and the display copy of  Africa Is My Home a book (coming out on October 8th) by my friend Monica Edinger, a 4th grade teacher, New York Times children’s book reviewer, and contributor to the Huffington Post.  You can read about the book and its history here: The Long and Winding Road to Publication.  (Holding the book in the picture is editor Sarah Ketchersid.)

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At the Macmillan booth, I was delighted to run into James Preller, author of a favorite book Six Innings when I served on the Notable Children’s Books committee.  He held up his other book and urged me to read it.  Just ordered it and will read it for sure!  Bystander received really great reviews.  In the background you can see the cover and display copy of the first book of his new middle grade horror series “Scary Tales.”  The first book is Home, Sweet Horror. We both agree that the worst is when you want to read a scary story and it turns out that some logical, none-scary reason hides behind all the horror you’ve experienced in the book and that makes the book “safer” (and lamer!)  I’m excited about the new series that is coming out next Tuesday (July 9th.)

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At the Little Brown Dance Party celebrating Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, my 2013 Newbery committee mates: Amber, Ginni, and Kate, (and me of course) had a ton of fun.  Click on this twitter #coldtown link to see the photos of the night (which were printed out right away at the party!)

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