Monday, June 25, 2007

ALA 2007

To D.C. and back! It was a whirlwind tour for me: down on Saturday morning and back on Sunday night, but in between the American Library Association conference was jam-packed with activity.

At the Charlesbridge booth authors and illustrators abounded. They were abounding all over the place, actually: Sneed Collard, Mitali Perkins, Anastasia Suen, Anne Sibley O'Brien, and Ellen Kushner. And the stopping by to say hi faction included Jeanne Pettenati, Pam Ryan, and Tina Headley.

Saturday was a very busy day and the excitement of the first day of exhibits filled the air. ALA is always like a class reunion, running into people you haven't seen since the year before... or longer. There's a lot of "I love your hair!" "Those are great shoes." "How was your trip to [fill in the blank]." And then, "Oh, yeah... show me the new books." Day one is fun, but by 5:00 my feet hurt.

On Sunday morning, I attended the Asian/Pacific American Library Association Book Awards at the lovely and palatialish JW Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Author/illustrator Anne Sibley O'Brien's book, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong, won the award in the picture book category. Everyone at the ceremony was glad to be there and there is an excitement about the building momentum of this award and the work of the APALA. I can't help feeling a little bit of residual pride that two other honored books - Justina Chen Headley's Nothing But the Truth (and a Few White Lies) and Grace Lin's Year of the Dog - were written by Charlesbridge authors. Although we didn't publish these particular books, the authors are part of our family. And the editor of both of these books, Alvina Ling, used to intern at Charlesbridge. See, all roads lead from Charlesbridge.

On Sunday afternoon, Sneed Collard and editor Judy O'Malley spoke on a panel at a CBC program called "Search and Research: How Three Nonfiction Writers Navigate the Information Overload." Other panel members included Elizabeth Partidge and Regina Hayes of penguin and Sy Montgomery with editor Kate O'Sullivan from Houghton Mifflin. Attendees raved about the program later at Sneed's autographing.

The highlight of the show for many people was the opportunity to meet and get a signed book from author Judy Blume. I didn't, but from all reports, the long lines were worth the wait to meet the living legend.

A few highlights at the Charlesbridge booth, in case you're wondering: everyone wants Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book. Evidently, dragons make kids happy. Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet surprised and delighted a lot of folks. And, being in D.C., Vinnie and Abraham was a favorite. Many people planned on visiting sculptor Vinnie Ream's masterpiece - the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Capitol Rotunda - during their stay in the city. The book is a perfect companion to appreciating this moving tribute to one of America's favorite historical figures.

I'm back in the office today, watching the firemen across the street testing the cherry picker -- I mean working. My colleagues are still at ALA, however, meeting with more librarians and authors and illustrators... walking the floor and talking face-to-face with the folks that make all that we do worthwhile. After ALA, you can't help but be re-energized and glad you're in the book business.

Posted by Donna.

1 comment:

Mitali Perkins said...

Your booth looked fabulous, and it was in such a great location. Not expecting to have such a great signing at a Convention (painful past), but you made it fun and people kept stopping by.