You know the best way to travel to the National Council of Teachers of English conference? Drive 7.5 hours to Pittsburgh with your best girlfriend in the car. BGF (aka Beth the College Professor) and I have not had the chance to talk our fool heads off in way too long, so that’s what we did the whole drive. It seemed like we were only in the car for an hour or so.
When we arrived, our room wasn’t ready so we changed out of our scuzzy traveling clothes in a hotel bathroom and did our make-up in the mirror while chatting with two girls who go to a local high school whose English teacher is Ms. Dana Getz. There are a million English teachers in Pittsburgh right now, so consider this your shout-out, Ms. Getz, in case I don’t run into you.
I spoke on a panel about bullying that was organized by C. J. Bott, author of The Bully in the Book and in the Classroom. Also on the panel were Graham Salisbury, and one of my favorite writers:
And there was a book signing. And then not enough sleep. And after breakfast this morning, another book signing. And another book signing. And another book signing. And then I signed stock for Anderson’s Bookshop (no relation). All in all I signed books for almost five hours today.
Here are the teachers who lined up early at the Simon & Schuster booth. People often ask if I get bored at book signings, or if my hand gets tired. I love them. Honestly. Especially at a conference like this where I meet teachers from all over the country and they tell me how they use my books in their school, and what their students like, and the kinds of books their students are hungry for. It is a real privilege to shake the hands of so many hardworking teachers. And no, my hand does not get tired. All the hours spent typing on this keyboard keep my fingers in good shape.
During one of the signings I sat next to a hero of mine: Lois Lowery!!! I was a total drooling fangirl and she was gentle and gracious.
Tonight I’ll be at a dinner hosted by Penguin and then a party by Simon & Schuster. Tomorrow will be much calmer…. not sure if I’ll sleep, visit workshops, write, or all of the above.