Tag Archives: #alaac15

I heart A. S. King!

23 Jul

One of my big scores at the ALA conference was an arc of A. S. King’s new novel  I Crawl Through It.

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This is what I will be up to today. Crawling through its pages and loving every minute of it. It’s received a number of starred reviews already, from VOYA, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Here’s what all the buzz is about:

Publisher’s Summary: Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.

So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.

The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

Andrew Smith said “I Crawl Through It proves that A.S. King is one of the most innovative and talented novelists of our time. This is King’s masterpiece–a brilliant, paranoid, poetic, funny, and at times overwhelmingly sad literary cocktail of absinthe and Adderall. What a trip!”

Today is going to be an excellent day.

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#alaac15 – Day 5 – Tired

30 Jun

I’m writing this Monday night as I sit in my room. When making my travel plans, I had great expectations of finishing my last session today and then going off and being an ordinary tourist In San Francisco. But I am SOOOO tired. I suppose I could try to get my flight changed and arrive home tonight, but I don’t have the energy for it.

I started my day by carrying a backpack + tote bag full of books to the Exhibit Hall where a Post office was set up.

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Yes, this conference is so big the USPS sets up a temporary post office! To pack the box and get through the line only took an hour, but there were two charming women from Louisiana in front of me and a verily once woman from the other LA behind me, so we passed the time in delightful conversation.

By the time I got out, I’d missed the first session I’d hoped to attend, but managed to get to the rest. I did two sessions after lunch, ending at 4 o’clock. I got myself a bowl of pho and walked home.

Reflecting on this experience, sitting here in the cool, calm of my room, I have learned some things about attending big conferences like this.

1. Pack as you go. If I’d known how many books I’d be receiving, I would have sent some home before Monday, rather than lugging them back to my room, then back again today. Better to ship just after you reach critical mass.

2. If you plan to do some sightseeing, better to arrive early to the exciting location and leave right when things end. We did this when part of my staff went to St. Louis for a Math conference. You are too tired at the end.

3. Bring business cards. Lots of people were handing them out and I had none.

4. Get you certificate of attendance when you register. I forgot to get mine until later today and when I went, they were all packed up. Now I have no proof of attendance in order to get the conference registration reimbursed.

5. Talk to everyone and anyone. I am an introvert by nature and I often feel uncomfortable talking to people, but I had a great time meeting new people I may never see again.

6. I have to attend the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston in January. Although booking a room with Airbnb worked really well this time, I will book a room in the hotel nearest the convention center in Boston because I don’t have the clothes for Boston in January.

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#alaac15 – Day 4 – quiet, but amazing

29 Jun

Yesterday started off with the YALSA Coffee Klatch with YA Authors. I met up with some Beaverton colleagues and we sat at table 10 of about 50. This was another speed dating event, with authors rotating about every 10 minutes. We only got about 10 authors, but WOW, we got some good ones:

Mariko & Jillian Tamaki of This One Summer

Andrew Smith who was promoting The Alex Crow

Leigh Bardugo talking about  Six of Crows

Marissa Meyer talking about Winter

When it was over, I dashed out to get to Andrew Smith’s book signing & got a copy of his sequel to Winger,  entitled  Stand-off. The I went to watch the parade. I didn’t stay for the whole thing because I was too short to see much and then the crowd was starting to get to me. I don’t really enjoy crowds.

The real highlight of the day were the speeches at the Newbery Caldecott banquet. TEARS!!!!

Dan Santat, who won the Caldecott for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimagnary Friend.

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That man moved the crowd with his soul-baring honesty. If you have a chance to read or listen to his speech, please do so. I am teary-eyed now. I bet you will see yourself in what he has to say.

He was followed by Kwame Alexander,who won the Newbery for The Crossover.

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He essentially gave a spoken word performance that was breathtakingly beautiful.

Today will be mundane after all that. My first stop is the on site post office where I will ship books home. I hope the line isn’t too long.

#alaac15 – Day 3 – Even better!

28 Jun

Day two was so good I didn’t imagine day 3 could be better, but it was!

I started the day by getting up at 5 so I could make my 6:45 breakfast with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. We got a huge bag of books and got to hear short speeches from Jack Gantos, Katherine Applegate, and a few others!

I went to the exhibition hall next, which I found a little overwhelming. It is CRAZY what they are giving away! Fortunately, I was mostly on a mission for debut YA we the committee hadn’t heard about yet, so I wasn’t being too greedy. My first stop was Little Brown, where i had a lovely chat with the person there. I felt things were going well, so I asked if they had arcs of A.S. King’s new novel, and I got one!

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It turns out the nice person I was talking to was her editor!

From that high, I decided to go back to my room and drop off my load before my committee meeting. By the end of the day, her is what I had, so I am glad I did.

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I am really worried about packing on Tuesday morning!

After lunch I headed into my committee meeting. I had met 4 of the 8 others on the William C. Morris Committee the day before, and we’ve met virtually every month. So this was our first face to face. You never know what you sort of mix it will be, but we are a good mix and got a long well. We talked books and logistics, but mostly books.We nominated a few more, rejected some more and assigned some titles. When the meeting was over a few of us went back to the exhibits before our dinner and panel with Random House.

Let me just say, that  have never been wined and dined like I was last night!

We were at a restaurant on the Embarcadero called The Waterbar, which overlooks the Bay Bridge.

After appetizers and drinks on the patio, we moved indoors to  a panel with 3 YA debut novelists, moderated by David Levithan.  The menu was designed around the themes of each of the authors’ books, which we were given! Each course , and there were 4, somehow captured something about each novel. At the end of each course the authors rotated so we could talk with them about their books. It was a spectacular evening.The four of us who went all felt that this might have been one of the best professional evenings of our lives. One of my colleagues got each author to sign his menu!

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I got home late, but happy.

 

#ALAAC15 – Day 2 – Woohoo

27 Jun

I was up early to see how my Dad was doing. He isn’t out of the woods yet, but his blood levels were good and he was awake while my twin sister was in for a visit. Knowing that the news was a bit better, I decided to take a morning stroll to the Embarcadero, after checking in at the conference registration area, to see if I could get some postcards to send to my students. It was a longish walk, but the day was beautiful. I wandered through the Ferry building and discovered a lovely little bookstore called Book Passage that had a n excellent supply of inexpensive postcards. So, I bought 23 and went outside to watch the ferries as I started to write to my students. It was a perfect day for some outdoors writing.

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My first conference event came in the afternoon: a tea sponsored by Bloomsbury books. I was fortunate enough to be at the table with the featured author, Leah Thomas. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and, once inside the room, had a choice of teas, little sandwiches, scones and other treats appropriate for an afternoon tea. I also, finally, met some of my Morris committee colleagues. We’d only met online until today and there are still a few I have yet to meet. Each attendee was also given a bag of books containing 4 middle grade/YA novels.

From there, it took a little quiet time back in Yerba Buena Gardens (which, I discovered this morning, is on the other side of the Moscone Center!) before heading off to event number 2: the Simon & Schuster YA Debut Author Panel & Dinner. This was the most fun event of the day. First, they fed us. Then Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit  and When I Was the Greatest, hosted a panel with 6 debut authors. And, you guessed it, we each got a bag with signed copies of each author’s book. Here is a haul I came away with today (and I haven’t even made it to the exhibition hall yet).

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Then the real fun began. We “speed dated” each author. All the conference attendees sat at a table and each author came to talk to your table for about 10 minutes. When time was called they moved on to the next table and we got a new author.

That ended around 7:30, just in time for me to hop on over to the Printz Award Presentation & reception. It started off with the presentation of the awards to the 2015 Honor Books. Then, Jandy Nelson, author of the winner,  I’ll Give You the Sun, gave her speech, which was truly wonderful. She is a gifted writer and her speech was as beautiful as her book. This was followed by questions to the panel.

I skipped the reception part. I was pooped.

I did manage to meet up with two of the district librarians from Beaverton, and some old friends from OASL.

Tomorrow promises to be another faction packed day.

#ALAAC15 – Day 1

26 Jun

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Yesterday was  a great but stressful day. I dropped off the dogs, got myself ready and to the airport in good time. Waiting for my flight I ran into Gregory, the librarian at Jesuit HS in Portland. It turns out he is chairing the YALSA Nonfiction Award this year. I’ve let my membership in OASL ( Oregon Association of School Libraries) lapse so he told me of the local librarians he knew of that would also be in SF this week. I will keep my eyes peeled for them.

I landed in SF and took BART to the Civic Center stop, then walked to the B&B  I’m staying at. It is the very cute building with the orange ground level.

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I am up in the 3rd floor. I am staying in SOMA, which is a gritty urban area.After settling in, I checked my messages, and learned my Dad, who has been hospitalized for a broken hip, now has pneumonia and things are not looking good. I told my family to let me know if I need to radically alter these vacation plans. I Skyped with my twin sister who said Dad would hate to me to leave and she will let me know if I need to go.Please send any prayers or positive thoughts you can spare. My dad could sure use them.

So, I walked around a bit after settling in. I ventured down to the Yerba Buena Gardens .

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They are right near the Moscone Center, which is festooned with manners announcing ALAAC15.

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I have a quiet morning then things start picking up around 2:30, when I have my first publisher event. But more on that later.

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