Thursday, June 28, 2007

ALA, Monday

Ah, Monday. The last day of ALA. Boy was I moving slowly that morning. Tired. It was a lovely hotel room and a soft bed, but I'd been walking more this weekend than I've walked for a long time. (since the last ALA?)
This day was spent trying to wiz through the rest of the exhibits in between meetings.

10:30 am -- At last. The Sibert Award for best nonfiction of the year was to be awarded. The printed program was beautifully done with a semi-transparent view of masses of men in the NASA control room overlaid on a bright view of part of the moon with the Earth hanging above it. When it came to the award for best short film, we learned that Mo Willems and his daughter had recorded the father and daughter's voices in "Knuffle Bunny : a cautionary tale." He brought his daughter up with him to help accept the award. cute.

Ah, the awards program ended at 11:30. I had just enough time to rush back to the Exhibits floor to stand in line, a very looong line, to get a Harry Potter bag from the Scholastic booth. I'd been seeing the bags during the convention and had recently discovered they'd be handing out the last ones at noon on Monday.

Hot dog on the exhibits floor for lunch.
Then more exhibit walking until it was time for me to sign my own books at the Albert Whitman booth.

This was the first time I'd be signing with any of my illustrators. In fact, this is the ONLY illustrator of any of my books that I've even met -- Paige Billin-Frye. She's not only done a wonderful job on my books, but also had close to 10 books she had illustrated on display at the booth. We spent our time at the booth telling passersby how wonderful the other person's books were. (and inviting them to pet the Groundhog -- a Folkmanis puppet)

Maurice, our Technical Trainer at HCPL, happened to catch Paige and me at this signing and snapped some pictures. Yes, that is the groundhog sitting between us. The best picture is posted on his BLOG at:

Doesn't Paige do wonderful work? I just love the covers she did for my books, don't you?
(Halloween will be available in September -- if you bought one and had it signed at ALA, you have a special copy just for you.)

Of course, then he e-mailed me the picture and I"m under orders to post it in this BLOG.
Just as soon as I get to that part of the 2.0 course.
(a technology course that all librarians and most of the other people who work in Maryland's public Libraries are required to take this summer.)

Soon afterwards I had to go back to the hotel to pack and make my way back up I-95 to Baltimore. Got home just in time to see my 7-year old win a ribbon at her swim meet. In backstroke, her most difficult stroke.

Nice end to a busy, busy weekend.

ALA, Sunday

Sunday I attended several strictly "librarian" meetings, beginning with "Communicating Up and Down: the Yo-Yo Effect. One of the speakers was Beverly Izzi, Children's Coordinator from Calvert Library here in Maryland. Several tidbits:
1) Don't dig a hole and jump in. -- This was explained that, when you are in a meeting and you see that nobody agrees with you, STOP arguring. Attack the problem with private discussions with other members of the meeting so that when you next bring it up, you will have supporters.
2) You may have supporters you never expect -- People in the general public may hear you speak about a problem/ solution and then might then contact the Director of your library system, or other people in the administration voicing their support of your proposal. Without you even knowing about this groundswell of support.
3) There was more, but these are the ones that stood out.

This ended early, so I slid into the Random House Fall preview of books. Despite Betsy Bird's reports on her BLOG of the yummie food at publisher's book Previews, there was no sign of eatables. :-( However, there was a great goodie bag of Reader's Copies of books and bookmarks and freebies (like a flip-flop key chain) and the news that StarGirl has a sequel -- book enclosed in the bag. (In fact the bag itself had art from the book on it.) Nobody gets to read it until I finish it. Then I'll pass it around the branch.

Ooops, DAvid Lubar was signing his books at TOR right afterwards -- so I rushed down to the exhibits to get TWO freebie copies of his books and to talk to him a bit.

Back to the hotel to drop off the piles of goodies I had gathered and to quickly eat a salad. Then back to the convention center where --

The afternoon meetings. I wanted to attend two of them. At the same time. How to do that?
First I went to Snips and Snails -- Every Boy Ready to Read. It actually sounded as if it were going to be boring. A psycologist talking and talking and talking. But it wasn't. boring that is. How neat to discover that boys learn differently than girls. And -- whereas in previous centuries girls were considered stupid because they couldn't learn with boys -- these days women teachers are teaching to girl's style and the boys are considered unteachable.

One amazing fact was that girls learn best in a warm room, sitting still. (sound familiar) Whereas boys learn best ON THEIR FEET in a room 5 to 10 degrees colder. Ah Ha! That's why boys wiggle and tap and make noises and general are what we consider disruptive. IT'S THE WAY THEY CAN CONCENTRATE AND LEARN. Talk about fastinating! How many of you have husbands that pace when they're thinking things out? boys/ men do that. It's why private boys schools are so successful. They have cold rooms with few chairs. (some boys do need to sit and think, but most would rather walk around.

This person was advocating single sex schools and he made a good case for it. I have to agree that one of my daughters was much more successful in her girl's high school than she had been in public high school.

Then I jumped next door to the other program I wanted to attend --
Search and Research: How Three nonfiction Writers Navigate Information Overload. Sneed Collard with his editor Judy O'Malley (Charlesbridge) Sy Mntgomery with his editor Kate O'Sullivan (Houghton Mifflin) and Elizabeth Partridge and her editor Regina Hayes (Viking) Along with Julie Corsaro who discussed the Sibert Committee and how they chose the best Non-fiction of the year. I gathered up a bunch of handouts from this one to send to the HCPL children's librarians.

Next, I jumped on the Metro to attend the Author Reception at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library sponsored by Capitol Choices. Completely missed the Book Cart Drill Team back at the convention center , which was narrated (is that the right term) by Mo Willems. I do hope that it shows up on U-Tube and that Betsy Bird will post them on her site one of her Video Sundays. I saw some of the costumed teams leaving just as I re-entered the convention center.

And then on the the Newbery/ Caldecott/ Wilder banquet. (all right, yes I did change my dress -- into a red one in honor of the Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky.) The banquet floor was sprinkled with red dresses -- along with a few men in red shirts. The speeches were entertaining. Susan Paton and her expressive eyebrows kept us laughing, even when she discussed the uproar that one word in her book caused.

And I got back to the hotel at a semi-decent hour.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


More ALA postings soon.
I was busy trying to catch up on clean wash and sorting the goodies I brought back with me today.
Presently they're spread out on the librarian's office floor, trying to get sorted into piles.
As Susan Patron said at the Newbery/ Caldecott/ Wilder banquet on Sunday, "Librarians do this."

Will post more ALA news, soon. -w

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday, ALA

The first thing I did at ALA was to run to the Scholastic Booth to see what they'd be handing out for Harry Potter this time. hmmm. nothing. However, they did promise me they'd be serving Butter Beer in the afternoon. (Not a big draw for this non-beer drinking person, however.) They did give me copies of Mike Thaler's Teacher from the Black Lagoon series -- signing to be held that afternoon. I can give these to the grandchildren and use the extra copies for prizes for programs at the library.

And so I visited a few other publisher's booths before checking out the Albert Whitman booth. Not only do they have some bound copies of my new book, The Halloween Book of Facts and Fun, but they're featuring it on the backdrop with a large poster. Yea!

And then on to the program -- Spreading the word with a Children's Poetry Jam. Amazing to hear Jack Prelutsky, Betsy Franco, Marlyn Singer and others read their own poems. I'm sure it was planned before hand, but they jumped from poems about food to animals, from longer poems to "who can show off the shortest poem." fun. Then they talked about using poetry with children to encourage them to appreciate playing with words.

I missed getting cake at Baker and Taylor's celebration of their new children's imprint, Paw Prints. (Isn't that cute?) But they promise more on Sunday.

Did I see Judy Blume? yes. Did I get a book signed by her? no. As I approached the end of the line, a booth staff member stood there telling everyone that the line was closed.

Then on to Trit Trot to Washington, the whys and hows of using rhymes, songs, books, and games in early literacy programs for babies and toddlers. The handouts included the songs they were using. Since there were leftovers after the program, I picked up some for every library branch. Some of the speakers go out to public health Clinics and other places where mothers gather, to reach those moms who have no idea that libraries would have books and programs that could help them cope with motherhood. Learned more uses of music in storytime and discovered that the Two Little Dickybirds fingerplay can also be used with LOUD and soft & fast and sloooooow. neat! Also scarfed up Betsy Diamant-Cohen's Mother Goose on the Loose CD that is just the songs. (the CDs I already have include the instructions for using the songs, but does not have just plain songs that I could actually use in my baby storytime.)

After the program, a group of us gathered around the speakers and demonstrated fingerplays and action games we have found sucessful in our own programs. Can't wait to use the popcorn one.

After more book signings and booth browsing, I had a wonderful idea. The Scholastic bash was to be at another hotel. Why not simply take the free bus now to that hotel, have dinner, and then I'll already be there for the concert.

The evening concert this year (to support scholarships to library school) was actually two performances. The first one by Mark Russel and the second one was the Capitol Steps. A great evening of political satire, perfect for this ALA in Wasington, DC. I'll share the CDs I bought of the Capitol Steps with everyone in my library branch. (after my husband gets them first to put on his I-Pod.)

Got back to the room before midnight -- yawn.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday, Washington DC

Well, I made it. Here we are in beautiful Washington, DC. How can I tell? Well, just out my window, beyond those buildings there, is the top third of the Washington Monument. Red light flashing on top to warn all those presidential hellicopters away.

When I pulled up in front of this de-leux hotel, I saw four valet men talking among themselves. And an empty rolling cart. After standing by my car for a couple of minutes, I shrugged my shoulders and unloaded the car, myself, onto the cart. Then I stood there waving my car keys until a valet finally decided to notice me. Suddenly it was apologies all over the place and "did you unload the car your self?" and sorry, sorry, sorry. Suddenly I was being escorted into the hotel by two men and another man tried to help me do "self-check-In" with a kiosk. Was he embarrassed when it said there was no room available for me. I whipped out my confirmation. He escorted me over to the registration desk and I was immediately processed. hmmmmmm.

I had requested two double beds but when we arrived at the TOP FLOOR, I saw that they had given me a king and had upgraded me to Regency Club grade. All without telling me.

wahoo. (wahoo only if it doesn't mean an extra charge on my bill.) It's an okay room, but it comes with a free breakfast and fruit during the day. ( And me with breakfast food in my suitcase -- bananas and oatmeal cookies. And dark chocolate M&Ns. oh well.) There's an 8 feet tall x 4 feet wide mirror on the wall. Cosy (men's size) overstuffed chair with an ottoman and table with lamp for computing.

I finally have the internet working. Had to talk with this nice boy in TEXAS before we could get my computer to talk to T-mobile. Funny, I've had no problems at other hotels, but this hotel's T-Mobil just wouldn't work. I've either purchased 3 or 6 or 9 days of T-mobile service. I can't tell. because I had to go through the purchase point several times before they decided their server would work.

Gotta go plan my day for tomorrow. Meetings to go to. Exhibits to see. Fun to be had at ALA.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hoppie Bird Day 2 Me

Wednesday was my birthday.
Several nice things happened that day.
I got lots of hugs and love from my family.
My youngest daughter got first place in freestyle at her swim meet. (Yea!)

And I got cards, dark chocolate, and a cononut cake at work today from my co-workers. YUMMY!
I also asked that they sing the Beatles' song,
"Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty - four!"

but they wouldn't. :-)