First Day at ALA

Chicago trip-2Richard, the boys, and I arrived at McCormick Place in Chicago slightly ahead of schedule this afternoon. We split the 12-hour drive from Jackson in half, stopping over Saturday night with friends in Carbondale, IL. Now that I am comfortably settled onto my college roommate’s couch, I am ready to write about our first impression of the ALA’s exhibit hall.

Huge! Overwhelming! Great books (and authors) at every turn — after finding the Boyds Mills booth, I went immediately to Candlewick‘s to see Hester Bass‘s book: The Secret World of Walter Anderson. Even though I saw the galleys and thought it looked wonderful, the real book is a work of art. Get this one as soon as you can.

We saw fancy new furniture, display cases, and game systems. We saw a vending machine dispensing books much the way snacks and candy bars are dispensed. N and I stopped at Out of the Box Publishing and played a few fun games: Ninja vs. Ninja and Backseat Drawing.

We stopped at Hyperion’s booth to have two books signed by Lita Judge: Pennies for Elephants and One Thousand Tracings. I highly recommend these books. Her illustrations are wonderful and the stories very interesting. She certainly knows how to take historical events and make them into engaging picture books.

N and I also stopped in at the Wizards of the Coast Publishing booth. The boys were convinced that the ALA would not have books like the ones they like: read fantasy, science fiction, game tie-in novels, etc. Boy, were they wrong. N walked into the WCP booth and pointed at the not-yet-released title by RA Salvatore and a very nice staffer handed him a free copy of a book Salvatore wrote with his son called The Stowaway.

Richard and I signed for an hour at the Boyds Mills booth and it was a ton of fun. Anastasia Suen walked by and I called her over to say that I had learned a good deal from her book Picture Writing. We talked some about Growing Patterns; she leafed through my draft copy and asked that I send a review copy next spring. Absolutely!

I also met the first librarian to review Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator. Amy Schardein is a librarian in northern Kentucky (where my mother’s family hails from). I thanked Amy for her review last year and I showed her Growing Patterns. It is so nice to meet people in person who have embraced Wolfsnail and used it in their libraries.

I’ll add pictures when I can — probably from the exhibit floor.

Sarita and Alex (roomie and baby)

Sarita and Alex (roomie and baby)

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