For my first ALA Midwinter post, I present a highlights reel – in words.
Snapshot #1: Meeting author Sarah Jamila Stevenson
On my flight to San Diego, I read the December issue of VOYA. One of the reviews that caught my attention was for a book called The Latte Rebellion. I thought to myself, “Self, remember that book. It’s a must-read!”
Flash to later that evening at the YA Blogger meet-up (thoughtfully organized by Kelly and Sarah T. (itself a highlight). I became engaged in a lively discussion of Mockingjay with some people from Flux: Melissa Wiley, Brent Hartinger (author of Project Sweet Life), and Sarah Stevenson. Later on, I noticed Sarah S. had left, and asked Melissa if Sarah is an author, and if so, what she has written. Melissa said The Latte Rebellion, and it all clicked. Then Melissa shared that Sarah would be signing books Saturday morning.
Flash to Saturday morning. I made a beeline for the Flux booth as soon as I entered the exhibit hall. I told Sarah the whole story, in a complete fangirl manner as she signed my copy of her novel.
Snapshot #2: Random House Preview
I visited the Random House booth on Saturday morning. I feel like an ungrateful idiot, because I did not get the publicists’ names – and they were unbelievably patient and generous with me. Some titles I picked up there that I am really excited about:
I then attended the Random House Preview on Sunday morning. This was the first preview I’ve attended, and I enjoyed the opportunity to hear the publishers book-talk their favorites to librarians! Some titles that I think will be excellent reads (although not all appropriate for my middle schoolers):
Snapshot #3: Morris and Nonfiction Award Reception
It is such a treat to hear author speak, and never more so than when they have just received an award and are full of excitement and disbelief. Here are my impressions of each of the speakers:
Lish McBride: She rhapsodized about librarians and made the audience howl with laughter.
Barbara Stuber: She moved me when she talked about YA books being the guiding stars for teens.
Blythe Woolston: “Reading changes minds. Shit happens in your brain when you read!”
Susan Campbell Bartoletti – Susan said many wise things, but I was so occupied with the awe I felt at being in her presence. Nonfiction in her hands is anything but boring.
Peter Robertshaw: I felt as though I were back in my undergraduate sociology & anthropology class. He reminded me why I love history: human beings are pretty cool.
Ann Angel: She made me see how Janis Joplin is still relevant, and her passion and love for the woman were so evident, it was poignant.
Snapshot #4: Stranded at ALA Dinner
Even with strangers, I wasn’t alone. I participated in lively and interesting conversations with librarians from various parts of the country and with myriad job descriptions, and formed new connections with Sara and Loida. Librarians make lemonade from lemons all the time. Thanks again, John, for your generosity!
Tembo, the African elephant at San Diego Zoo
Speaking of lemonade, my highlights reel would be incomplete if I did not mention San Diego Zoo. I took advantage of my stranded status to say hi to Bai Yun, Karen, Tembo, Cookie, and the other wondrous animals. I personally adore elephants, so I spent a lot of time there watching Cookie get a foot soak while another female received a pedicure. Fascinating, beautiful creatures. I also had up close encounters with a Tree Pangolin and an adorable fox. Highly recommend you visit if ever you find yourself in San Diego, stranded or otherwise!