105 Ways to Give a Book

ALA Experience: Part IV

On Monday morning, I was so tired that I didn’t think I’d make it to one more day at ALA. But my teen encouraged me to go, reminding me how much I would enjoy being around my friends. Boy, does she ever know me well.

I knew there would be a slower pace on Monday, with a little more time with friends and authors, and more relaxed time to explore the booths. Running a bit behind schedule, I quickly made my way to Tanita Davis’ signing of Mare’s War. We chatted for a bit before we realized that we could meet over lunch for a more extended visit. That much better plan allowed me time to see E.B. Lewis and get a copy of Jackie’s Gift. I wish I had brought my copy of The Negro Speaks of Rivers, but I did get to tell him how much I loved his work in that book. And then it was over to Candlewick to get a copy of Roger Sutton’s A Family of Readers. Can’t wait to read it!

Though I had seen Grace Lin all weekend, I really wanted her to sign my copy of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. I was lucky to find that her signing — actually for a different book — wasn’t too crowded, which allowed me to get a picture and give her a necklace I made as a little gift. And a hug, because she’s the sweetest lady in the world. Later, when I went back to that booth an editor there told me how touching it had been to see our meeting, which made me feel good for having brought a tiny bit of happiness into what had to be a long day for those booth workers. Yup, I’m a giver.

I checked back with Tanita, where she had gathered other friends for a lunch break. I was happy to spend some extra time with Laura Purdie Salas, Kelly Fineman, and Charlotte Taylor. Tanita’s mom had come to town as well, and was delightful and so proud of her daughter — as she should be. Tanita’s husband David was the trip photographer, capturing this happy picture of us. We had a nice time visiting, and I was sorry not to be able to spend more time with this fun group, but they were all headed their separate ways, and I had a few more folks to see.

Specifically, I was headed to a signing of Will Grayson Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan. The signing on Sunday had an outrageous line, but this one from BWI hadn’t been promoted, so I was able to get through the line pretty quickly. The distributer was giving away free copies, which attracted a different sort of people. Namely, the people who wanted free books, whatever they were. Instead of getting to gab with fellow Nerdfighters, I found myself behind a rather cranky lady who didn’t know anything about the book and was annoyed that the wait was so long. If she hadn’t been like seventy years old, I might have smacked her. I didn’t have much time with the authors, of course, but I did pick up the free copy and had the one I had purchased signed as well. (Which led the irritable lady to ask how I got two books. Le sigh.)

Then it was over to the Charlesbridge booth to to chat with Emily Mitchell — editor and blogger of Emily Reads — and get my copy of The Day-Glo Brothers signed by Chris Barton. As we talked, I found that Walter Dean Myers was signing at the next booth. Surprisingly, there was no line at all, so I picked up a copy of Looking Like Me and we chatted about kids today. I suggested that his son seemed to have grown up okay, having illustrated the book I was buying. He liked that. I was able afterward to pick up a copy of Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin — a book I really enjoyed — and make a very specific compliment to the book. I’ve heard authors like that.

Now it was about 2:00 and I was beginning to fade. I was taking a quick walk through as some booths were starting to unload their display copies, and stumbled on two more signings. The first was a book by Joyce Sidman that I liked, but never got around to buying — partially because it’s kind of sad. But seeing illustrator Pamela Zagarenski signing, it seemed like the right time to take home This Is Just to Say. The second surprise signing was Lane Smith for It’s a Book. Actually, there were a couple of surprises there. A free tote bag, and the last line of the book. Oh, you’ll see.

At that point, my bag was full and I was ready to head home. On the Metro ride back, I realized that people approached ALA in different ways. Some were there for the sessions, of course. Some were excited to see the different award presentations. Others wanted to get as many books as they possibly could, while still others went to hang out with a group of friends. For me, I wanted to meet as many authors and bloggers and librarians as I could, especially the ones I knew online. The signings certainly made it easier to find authors, but I also enjoyed spotting them “in the wild” of the exhibit floor. I even approached a few that way. The whole time there I was also running into fellow bloggers, and even a few MotherReader fans. Overall, it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, and I’m only sorry that I couldn’t extend my time to enjoy the Printz Awards on Monday evening and Coretta Scott King Awards on Tuesday morning. But my real life was calling, and it was calling collect.

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Category: 6 comments


Morgan said...

It looks like you had a super fun time! I loved all the pictures

Debbie - Families and Literacy said...

Thank you so much for all of the pictures and posts. It was great to see everything that went on. Everything you said was such a good reminder of the awesomeness of the world of children's literature. It's chock full of amazing people. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

I think this was my favorite day (of yours; I was packing for a trip and couldn't make it on Monday, sigh. I wish I had, though). The Newbery banquet was way too crazy for me!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your comments and picture as well Pam. I never thought I would ever get to meet you and that was one of my biggest highlights in DC.

Melissa said...

How fun! I loved Anything But Typical, and we're enjoying The Day-Glo Brothers from the library now.

Enjoyed your ALA posts - thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I was so glad we got to hang a bit!