Sunday, June 27, 2010

ALA Saturday

While I"m waiting for the Newbery/ Caldecott banquet to begin, I though I'd jot down some notes about yesterday at ALA. (which might be added to as I remember other things.)

Although I live just an hour and a half from DC, I decided to stay at a hotel. (because the last time it was in Washington, DC, I tried commuting and ended up too tired to drive back, once I got home.) Arrived Friday, late. Long story. Maybe I'll tell it later.

After Saturday breakfast (banana and oatmeal cookie in the room), the first session for me was MOVE OVER DICK AND JANE: Reconsidering Books for Beginning Readers.
--Loved Neal Porter's, editor at Roaring Brook Press, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger's, author/illustrator, presentation, "How to create an early reader without really trying. It was fascinating to see the decisions they made about the book, First the Egg. and other books. Their contention is that many picture books are 'easy readers.' and here's why.
--Alessandra Balzer, from Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers talked about Mo Willems's Cat the Cat series, which he is writing for the very, very, very early reader.
-- Geoffrey Hayes demonstrated his very easy reading graphic novels from Toon Books
-- And Cindy Woodruff, Director of Libraries at Gilman Lower School Library in Baltimore rounded out the panel with the school librarian's viewpoint of these books.

The next session was harder to juggle, since it overlapped the luncheon I wanted to attend.

The Harper Collins Children's Books Fall 2010 title presentation was suddenly interrupted by a surprise appearance of MO WILLems, himself. The Last, Final Knuffle Bunny book is coming out -- and it makes him cry. I'm not going to tell you the ending of the story (I got to read a F&G later on the Exhibits floor), but he did say that this book contained his hopes Trixie's future. Plus -- there are references to every one of his book characters (the Pigeon, etc.) hidden in this book. Go find them when you read this book.

Other neat books you should keep a lookout for are--
I'm Big! by that great boy-book team who brought you I'm Dirty, about a garbage truck.
Rescue Bunnies by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin
The 25th anniversary edition of If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, with new endpapers
A picture book by Lemony Snicket called 13 Words. (maybe it won't be as offensive as his other picture books. I haven't seen it yet.)
Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie by Herman Parish with a new illustrator, Lynne Avril.
A new Little Bear story ! can you believe it? Little Bear and the Marco Polo by Else Holmelund Minarik.
Of course, new Fancy Nancy books -- Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique, And the Delectable Cupcakes, and Fancy Nancy: my Family History.
Big Nate Strikes Again -- surprise = NOT an I Can read, but a younger middle grade.
And a reissue of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. They only showed two of them, but I assume that all three are being reproduced.

Luckily, I'm most interested in the younger Harper books, because at 12 noon, the doors opened to the Margaret Edward's luncheon and I abandoned HarperCollins to attend it. It was important to me because this was the first time the award has been given to a NONFICTION author. And what a great pick it was! I have loved Jim Murphy's books forever.

If you want to read a great interview of him, get the June 2010 issue of School Library Journal, written by the great Anita Silvey. Parts of his wonderful speech came from this interview. By the time he listed four out of the five things he thought a good writer should have, I was kicking myself for not writing them down. They were funny -- and sooo true. (number 3 is 'dumb luck.')

After the luncheon, I ran through part of the exhibits, examining the new books being offered by publishers and trying to find some free swag. (very little free swag handed out this year. Almost all of the books being signed by authors there needed to be purchased -- at a good discount, but still.) Not many bookmarks, my favorite swag, available either.

Soon it was time to meet my friend Cyndy Cotten (author of many fab books) and try to find Tami Lewis Brown's house in Georgetown. She was holding a Tea Party in honor of Katherine Paterson, the current US Library of Congress's National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

If that was a Tea Party, I'm the Queen of England. She had it catered and the variety and amount of food was amazing. Iced Tea, Lemonade, and cucumber water (and later, champagne) were the 'tea' part of the party. Cheese and sliced veggies inside the house. (and a crowd of people watching the Soccer World Cup in the den.) Small stuffed croissants and desserts on tables in her small, paved yard. (this IS in the city, so no large lawns here.)

Tami is a graduate of and a Trustee of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. So, naturally there were a lot of local (and not local but here for ALA) VC students and graduates. Major librarians rounded out the crowd.

Afterwards, we packed my car with authors and took M street east until we ended up back at the Washington Convention Center where they decamped to find either their hotel or a subway entrance to go home.
I was a teeny bit tired by the end of the day. Went to bed early. Gotta get up early for a 7:30 breakfast at another Hotel.

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