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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Me fangeeking about Sherman Alexie, who was at the party, too.
Here I have somewhat recovered by composure. Somewhat.
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!!!!!!
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.
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.
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!