ALA 2013 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

On Friday, June 28th, I left Los Angeles to fly to Chicago for what I knew would be an exceptional four days at ALA's annual conference.  I was excited to see Beth Shaum who I would be rooming with and all of the other Nerdy Book Club Members that would be in attendance.

When I arrived at my hotel on Friday, June 28th, there was a big, big party happening that had nothing to do with books.  It turned out that the Chicago Blackhawks were celebrating their Stanley Cup win at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

The Chicago Public Library's Lion sported a hockey helmet in honor of the Blackhawks. (Photo credit @cppotter)

I don't have any photos from the Walden Pond Press reception but thank you Kellie Celia for hosting such a marvelous party.  It was great running into: @liblaura5 @libraryreeder @colbysharp @mindi_r @utalaniz  and so many more friends that evening.

On Saturday, June 29th, I was invited to a small dinner party given by Katherine Tegen (Katherine Tegen Books) to celebrate several of her authors.  Here I am with the other folks at my table.  Debut author, Mindy McGinnis (Not a Drop to Drink) was the author at my table. Other authors in attendance were Debra Driza, Michael Grant, and Veronica Roth.     

The Schneider Family Book Award is part of the ALA Award Ceremony and Reception.  It may not be as fancy as the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, but it was still very special for me to be part of the celebration on Sunday, June 30th.

Here are the three books selected by the 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Jury.  I love seeing the medal stickers on each book.

Claire Alexander receives her Schneider Family Book Award for Back to Front and Upside Down from the ALA President while accompanied by Peg Glisson, Schneider Family Book Award Juror 2013.

Sarah Shumway, HarperCollins editor of A Dog Called Homeless accepts on behalf of author, Sarah Lean.  Jill Garcia from the 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Jury accompanied Sarah onto the stage.

Peter Lerangis, co-author of Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am, accepts the award on behalf of both he and Harry Mazer from the president of ALA.  It was very special to be on the stage while the award was given.

After the Schneider celebration, I headed over to the Sheraton where all of the activity leading up to the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Reception.  Both Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer & Nerdy Book Club member) and I had busy weekends but we managed to connect up at the Scholastic Pre-Newbery/Caldecott Reception.   While there, I also ran into Teri Lesnese, Kirby Larson, Raina Telgemeier, and Dave Roman

Picture from the ALSC blog - Some Nerdy Book Club friends (Sherry Gick, Brian Wyzlic, Kathy Burnette, and Beth Shaum).

Our Caldecott inspired dessert.  Brian Selznik designed the image used for the 75th Caldecott Anniversary.

From Charisse Melotto, Scholastic - Rock stars of children's books. Can you name them all?

From Beth Shaum - Jon Klassen's Cladecott speech has me laughing and crying at the same time
From Sherry Gick - @libraryfanatic - gives a shout out to & !!! YES!! We love

At each table setting for the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet was a special cookie, program and dvd to remember the event.

On Monday, The Schneider Family Book Award Jury along with the winning authors and publishers sat down for a very special luncheon.  Katherine Schneider was unable to be present but she did call in to wish the winners a special congratulations.  Above: The 2013 Schneider Family Book Award Jury with Claire Alexander (Back to Front and Upside Down) and Peter Lerangis (Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am).

I was thankful to find time to hang with Mary Ann Scheuer and Cathy Potter to chat about books, education, and share Chicago-style Deep Dish pizza.

I capped off Monday evening by attending the Printz Award Ceremony to listen to the acceptance speeches by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Elizabeth Wein, Beverley Brenna, and Nick Lake. (Note: Author, Terry Pratchett's speech was read by his editor.)  Benjamin Alire Sáenz kicked off the evening with an emotional and heartfelt speech that left us all teary eyed and earned him a standing ovation.  Elizabeth Wein impressed me when her speech included references to the books and characters of each of the other winners.  Beverley Brenna spoke up boldly for characters with disabilities and Nick Lake started off with a nod to Caldecott Winner, Jon Klassen.   

This post is completely inadequate in providing everyone with a sense of what the weekend really was like.  How do you talk about all of the many authors and illustrators, and teachers and librarians that I met for the first time or re-connected with?

How do you explain what it is like to shake the hand of someone like author, Katherine Paterson? Or what do you say as you stand before Patricia MacLachlan as she is about to sign a copy of Sarah, Plain and Tall?

What do you say to Audrey Niffennegger whose book The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my all-time favorite books? Thanks Jen Vincent for standing in a long line while waiting for Audrey.

How do you not become completely tongue-tied while sitting next to David Levithan and Brian Selznik at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet?

I wish I had more time to spend with Mr. Schu or with other members of the Nerdy Book Club but then I can look forward to NCTE 2013 in Boston and ALA Midwinter 2014 in Philadelphia to catch up.

Now off to read some of the books that I picked up at ALA.