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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Book Expo-a-go-go

Mary Ann Sabia, VP at Charlesbridge, has been to twenty BEAs. Man-oh-boy. BEA is a huge amount of work, but every year - whether it's New York, Chicago, LA, DC, Vegas baby, or anywhere else - those three days really get us jazzed about being in the book industry. That must be why MAS comes back every year. That and the cookies in the ABC lunch boxes.

Day one - the publishers day one, where we set up in the non-air conditioned hall - is one of my favorite days. Struggling with a 30 foot vinyl sign while the union guys look on and laugh at me. That's a special memory. But it's the ABC dinner, this year on Friday night, that makes all the planning, manual labor, and expense of BEA worthwhile. This year, the Charlesbridge table was situated next to the folks from Little, Brown and in particular I was right behind author Sherman Alexie. We were a little star struck, but I figured we were all here for the same reason, right? Colleagues. So I introduced myself. What an absolutely nice guy. Holla! Sherman. You can give Adam Beach the office phone number, by the way.

Except for Sunday, which is always a slow march, I felt BEA was very busy. Charlesbridge is not a huge company and we don't throw big lavish parties, but we like to mix and mingle and do fun things. And this year we have the privilege and the good fortune to publish two books - Meet the Meerkat and Hello, Bumblebee Bat - by Darrin Lunde and Pat Wynne. Both Darrin and Pat work at the American Museum of Natural History. They very graciously agreed to give us, and a few of our favorite booksellers and librarians, a behind the scenes look at the things that go bump in the attic at the museum. Jealous much? You have to know someone to see some of the stuff Darrin and Pat showed us, such as the flesh-eating bugs that clean the bones of the critters that you will see on display.

Check out the gallery to the right to see all the neat behind the scenes stuff at the museum.

While some of us went to the museum on Saturday morning, others of us went to the CBC love fest speed dating event at Javits. Author Ellen Kushner and I, Charlesbridge's Donna Spurlock, traveled from table to table a very quick 21 times to meet booksellers, librarians, and teachers for a 3-minute date. Ellen did very well... I'm still waiting for my phone to ring. Typical. I've got to get my own klezmer orchestra like Ellen.

On Saturday, I also attended Ralph Masiello's autographing session in the autographing area. Dave Holton and his crew are amazing, magical people who can make that craziness happen without a hitch. When I hear from him in February, I really don't want to think about BEA, but I'm so glad that he's out there making sure our authors have a place to sit and sign their books. Especially when it's Ralph Masiello and his Dragon Drawing Book. The line was huge and never-ending and the requests coming from all around us was a little overwhelming (sorry to all those folks who asked but didn't get a book. Dave's rules! You gotta wait in line and one per customer). But Ralph just took it in stride and signed away and chatted with everyone.

All in all, I thought BEA was a great event this year. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth. If you were one of the lucky ones to get a galley of The Golden Dreydl or Camel Rider, we'd love to have your feedback.

See you at ALA in D.C.!

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