ALA was the bestest conference EVAH!

Dang, that was good. ALA was absofreakinglutley astounding. How to best describe this???

Imagine the thing you care about most in the world (besides the people that you love). In my case, this is books. Specifically, books for kids and teenagers. OK, now, take thousands of people who work in the field that you love. These people have devoted their lives to your passion and care about it every bit as much as you do. Maybe even more. And get this – they are nice people; not jerks or chuckleheads. They are smart and funny and it lifts up your heart to be in their presence.

That’s what this year’s ALA conference was like for me. My only regret is that it did not last for an entire month.

I took some pictures.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The first big event was a reunion of the Printz Class of 2000. From the left: Ellen Wittlinger, Walter Dean Myers, me, and David Almond.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Ellen and me hamming it up. She has a new book coming out next month, Parrotfish, that sounds amazing. David looks a little nonplussed here. He is a very sweet man with an adorable accent. I overheard librarians begging him to read the phone book.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic A standing-room-only crowd came out to hear us talk about the impact the Printz has had on our work and on YA literature. It was an incredible evening for me, especially listening to Walter’s comments.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic At the party afterwards, I ran into old friend Toni Buzzeo and new friend, Gail Giles, who needs to move to Central New York so we can hang out because she is a very funny lady.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The boys were back in town: Terry Trueman, Sweet Author Whose Name Has Completely Flown My Mind And I Feel Like A Jerk About It, and Chris Crutcher. (edited to add, thanks to input from David Lubar) The guy in the middle is Roland Smith.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me fangeeking about Sherman Alexie, who was at the party, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here I have somewhat recovered by composure. Somewhat.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The next night, I lost my composure again, because Eileen Kreit (from Penguin) and I got to have our picture taken with JUDY BLUME!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Sherman and I spoke on a panel with Cecily von Ziegesar (she writes the Gossip Girl series) and Alyson Noel (Kiss & Blog ) The room was small and crowded but my voice was powered by a venti coffee with a double-shot of espresso so it all worked out.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The next morning started with the YALSA breakfast. Think speeddating – 25 or so authors, 400 librarians. Many, many thanks to all the nice folks I met. I just wish we would have had more time!!! After the breakfast, they lined up the authors so the librarians could get photos of us all. This is what the wall of paparazzi librarians looked like to us. Ellen W and I called them the Bookarazzi.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Me and my little brother, aka M. T. Anderson. I was born first, and the first letter of my first name comes before his in the alphabet, so make sure my books are in front of his on the shelf. But also make sure that his books are faced out, because they rock the universe. Yes, Mom and Dad are proud.

And I have just realized I am an idiot. Because John Green and I hung out several times at the conference. We chilled in the hotel lobby, we shared cabs, we even spoke to a bunch of teens at lunch ::waves to all the teens who ate pizza with us and asked great questions:: And we talked a lot about YA literature and life, and I really, really like him. And he signed nice things in my books. But did I remember to take photos of any of this??? No, because I am an idiot. Sometimes. Maybe he has one. John? Anyone?

Catch more ALA stories and photos courtesy of Edwards Award winner Lois Lowry, Linda Sue Park (great Newbery dinner shots), David Lubar, Paul Acampora was there, thanks to Yum-Yum, and Miss Cecil Castellucci (who has pictures of Holly and Theo – more friends I forgot to photograph!. You can also listen to all kinds of cool people on YALSA podcasts (scroll down to find them.

Know of any other ALA blogs/photos out there? Tell me in Comments!

38 Replies to “ALA was the bestest conference EVAH!”

  1. Do you know how consumed with envy I am?!!! You met so many cool people (isn’t David Almond an absolute sweetie?)!

    Tammy Pierce

  2. I met your brother at a get-together Cecil organized after the LA Times Bookfest. He’s very nice company! And I hope you meet you sometime as well!

  3. Wait, seriously? M.T. Anderson is your little brother? Or is it a we-share-last-names-and-we-write-YA sort of thing? Crazy. 😀

    And I am also quite envious. SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE!!!!

  4. OK. I have to fess up. He is not my little brother in the strictly biological sense of the word. But we agreed to feed the rumor, since a lot of people already think its true.

    Very perceptive, Texas!

  5. Okay, I’m fangirl geeking out just LOOKING at your pictures…between Sherman Alexie, Judy Bloom, and everyone else! ACK!!

    Also, I had no idea that you and M.T. Anderson were actually related. In my Children’s Lit class last fall, we read Feed right before Speak in the class and it was quite an awesome ending segment to the class, which ended with me wanting to read a ton more of BOTH y’all’s stuff. So that actually amuses me 😉

  6. *snort* Just saw above comment about the fake-sibling thing 😉 You tease! (I have many fake siblings myself, including a fake-twin-sister, so I completely enjoy that it’s not just me. hee.)

  7. This makes me homesick for ALA in the worst way. Librarians are my people in a very basic way, and there’s nothing like being awash in them… Plus I always room with my best buddies!

  8. The YALSA breakfast was quite something, and it was lovely to meet you (if only for a few minutes). Paparazzi Librarian Paul at our table took lots and lots of breakfast pictures and managed quite a few of John. Find that flickr album here. Paul also took a few very nice shots of you, including this one of you explaining your tattoo to our table.

    I’ve also been blogging about ALA (most recently with pictures!) from an undergrad student’s perspective. An awesome conference of epic proportions!

  9. yay–fun! sara zarr has a good one, cecil c. maureen johnson taped john green’s speech—hmmmm—the longstockings had one. i love your pic w/ judy though! that’st he first close up i’ve seen–glad you had fun.

  10. I blogged a bit about ALA on my livejournal — and will do more as soon as my thoughts come together! 🙂

    I was hoping to introduce myself to you there; maybe next time! Right now I feel cool just cause I got to hang with some of the same people you did. So unbelievable, and inspiring, and wonderfully validating for my choice to write YA! (As if it’s a choice. It’s a need. But you know that.)

  11. OMG, you’re, like, kidding, right? I saw M.T.A. at a party over the weekend and totally fangirled and now I feel like my fangirling was flawed by my not realizing your relationship.

  12. Please see the Truth about MTA and LHA in the comments above.

    But feel free to spread the rumor because it is funny and harmless.

  13. Wow that sounds so awesome! And Judy Blume! AAAAAHHHH!!!! Thanks so much for posting the report and photos, it sounds like such a blast. I’m green with envy!

  14. I had an awesome time at ALA also. I love being around other librarians…it energizes me and makes me feel great about my profession.

    I was so excited to meet you and have you sign Speak. I was very fangeek-y. (Although I have to tell you that when I met Judy Blume a few years ago, I could not even speak. I opened my mouth to thank her for books that helped me survive adolescence and I just started bawling. She was wonderful.) I also got to meet Gail Giles and Armistead Maupin.

    Here’s a pic I took (with my phone) of you and Sharyn November –

  15. I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you, but I know we are on a panel together at NCTE, so will look forward to it in November.
    Thanks for posting the photos.

    Also, just finally read PROM, and really loved it.

    –E. Lockhart

  16. Hey Laurie- I love reading David Lubar & Paul’s names on your post-you have great taste in friends!

    I have been trying to get through to you via Sarah Henry regarding the SCBWI conference Fall Philly coming this September. If you could get back to me so I can make your travel reservations soon?! Sorry this is on here- I couldn’t get through any other way- julie winkler

  17. God, I am so jealous. Looks like you had a wonderful time. I swear I will make it to ALA one of these days.

    So funny about the M.T.A. comments. You had me going too!

  18. ALA

    This is Gail Giles. I wanted everyone to know that I don’t show up in any of my pictures. I fat woman wearing my clothes always shows up. I try to get her stop doing that so my slim, young self can be seen by all–but, alas, she is stubborn.

    I was all fan geeky meeting you!


  19. >>We must make plans to be at a conference or something like that soon, you and me.<<

    I would love that! I don’t suppose you’re going to be at SCBWI in LA in August, are you?

  20. I’m glad you enjoyed the conference. I walked by you and wanted to tell you how my daffodil bulb did, but you were deep in conversation and I had to run to meet someone.

    I posted a few pix on my LJ.

  21. Garsh, isn’t Judy Blume amazing? Her speech made me tear up 4 million times. Dragonchariot luvs Judy Blume 4-evah!

    Heck, if you have have a fake brother, I can have a fake boyfriend. Sherman Alexie and I have been dating for many years and I love him very much.

  22. i’m glad you had a good time at the ALA conference. that’s so cool that you met judy blume. i’m jealous lol. did you meet lois lowry? i wasn’t sure. i met her when i was in fifth grade. she was really nice. i remember i had a huge pile of books for her to sign lol. glad you had a good time, and happy 4th of july! miss you! =) ♥

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