Celebrate This Week: ALA

Last weekend, I was in Orlando for the American Library Association Annual Conference. It is always one of the highlights of my year. It is a chance to spend time with librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators and publishers to celebrate books. 

Mary Ann Scheuer roomed together at the conference and on our walk over to the Convention Center we saw these great #choosekind messages. Definitely a fun way to kick off the conference.

Photo credit: Mary Ann Scheuer 

Photo credit: Mary Ann Scheuer 

After registering, I had a chance to meet up with author and publisher Marissa Moss. She invited Creston authors, Marcia Goldman and Robin Newman, to join us, and a surprise guest, author & illustrator, Kathryn Otoshi.

Photo Credit: Robin Newman

Photo Credit: Robin Newman

We had the best time talking about books and how important it is for children to have choice in what they read and write. These are the kinds of discussions that I love having and knew I would have over the course of the whole weekend. 

Bloomsbury Publishers kicked off ALA with an afternoon tea to celebrate some of their books.

Sadly, I didn't get any pictures with any of the authors. 

My evening was spent with the fabulous Sandra Markle. I admire who adventurous spirit and commitment to writing great nonfiction for children. I also love her sense of how to present information for teachers and librarians in order to better use her books with children. Next time, I need to get a photo with her.  For more nonfiction at ALA, check out my Wednesday post, here.

On my way back to the hotel, I ran into one of my good friends, Kellee Moye who convinced me to join her and to drop in on the Macmillan Dessert. I am so glad that I did. I ran into debut author, Bridget Hodder and many more.

The next day, I spent much of it with teacher/librarian, Cynthia Alaniz. We have certain traditions when attending ALA. One is wandering the exhibit hall and checking out books.

Photo Credit: Rocco Staino, SLJ

Photo Credit: Rocco Staino, SLJ

We also do at least one read aloud together and this year it was WE FOUND A HAT by Jon Klassen. 

We continued our day together with a special lunch with Lee Bennett Hopkins. Listening to him during the lunch was like getting a children's poetry history lesson with a lot of humor thrown in. Thank you Boyds Mills Press for including us. 

Photo credit: Kerry McManus, Boyds Mills Press

Photo credit: Kerry McManus, Boyds Mills Press

Another tradition that Cynthia and I have at both Annual and Midwinter is to spend time listening to the ALA Children's Notable Book discussions. I learn so much from listening to others talk about books.

On Sunday, I ran into Louise Ang. I have been following Louise on Twitter for about six years now and this was the first time I had the opportunity to run into her face to face. 

The other highlight of Sunday (and Monday) was the Schneider Family Book Awards and luncheon. 

Photo Credit: Joanna Tamplin

Photo Credit: Joanna Tamplin

L to R: Sean Qualls, Laurie Ann Thompson, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Teresa Toten - winners of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Awards. 

L to R: Sean Qualls, Laurie Ann Thompson, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Teresa Toten - winners of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Awards. 

The long weekend was fabulous and to thank all of the amazing publishers and authors and illustrators, I will take a page from my friends Elephant and Piggie. 

Until next year....

....celebrate books and happy summer reading.