The story is here, in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. Huge thanks to Kevin Ferris and to Amy Junod, page designer, who used six of my photographs for this piece. I'm sort of overwhelmed. I'm very grateful. Thank you. Add a Comment
Can I mention how wonderful this past week's Texas Library Association Conference was? Seriously, the state of Texas rocks and so do all the people in it! I seem to do best summarizing these things with pictures, so here we go!
A huge thank you to Tor for having me be a part of the conference!
Just back from the 2013 Texas Library Association Conference in Fort Worth!
First, some pics I took when I went running:
|Reflected in doors of federal courthouse|
|Boarded up freight depot|
|Gorgeous art deco court building (foreground). New city hall (back)|
|Monument to JJ Burnett|
|Daniel Nayeri and onion ring mountain|
|Candlewick "family" dinner|
|Spirit of Texas panel|
|Cyn and me and this awesome dinosaur book|
|Signing with E. Kristen Anderson and the Book Festivals of Texas booth|
|Kathi Appelt poses with her forthcoming release|
|Debbie Leland and Gingerbread Football guy|
|Cyn at the Mackin booth|
Cyn and I had the pleasure of attending the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Houston! Cynthia signed the TANTALIZE series with Candlewick and also with Perma Bound Books, and I had the pleasure of my first conference signing of CHRONAL ENGINE with Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It was great fun to meet librarians and fellow dinosaur enthusiasts! They cleaned us out of books and postcards...
In its starred review, Publishers Weekly said that “from the first sentence Lamar will have readers hooked.”
TLA was simply amazing! Those aren’t the four most powerful words. But they come close. The Texas Library Association is a great chance for those of us who spend most of our life at quiet desks, tinkering with nouns and verbs, to meet the people who give life to books by connecting them with kids and readers. Librarians and media specialists are the best conversationalists you’ll ever meet. And I had some great conversations.
I talked with a woman who said she was finally able to raise a young student’s test scores because the girl became an enthusiastic reader of our Library of Doom series. In fact, the girl brought four of her friends into the school library to turn them on to the books too.
One media specialist thanked me because the Stone Arch books were the only books that one of her problem boy readers would pick up . . . and finish!
Joan Berge, the president of Stone Arch Books, Heather Kindseth, the creative director, and I hosted a breakfast focus group with a dozen librarians.1 We discussed everything from scary books to comic superheroes to the popularity of the Twilight series. 2
One day on the exhibit floor, scores of high-school students were roving in nomadic bands, hunting for advance copies and posters and fun giveaways3. It was fun to talk about graphic novels as well as traditional novels with these young people. They were so passionate about their favorite books.
The welcoming and literate and diverse crowd at the conference reminded me of my first introduction to Texas hospitality, when I worked at the Renaissance Festival outside Magnolia, Texas a number of years ago. I was part of a wandering troupe of players that would improvise stories yelled out from the crowd – “Rapunzel! Jason and the Golden Fleece! Cinderella! Ben Hur!4”
It seems every time I’m in Texas I’m either telling a story or hearing one. I heard some great stories and anecdotes from the media professionals about the stories that our authors tell in our books. It was like a powerful chain reaction of literacy, or a massive Southern oak sprouting from a seedling. Oh, and those four most powerful words – tell me a story. Thanks to all the people who told me their stories in Houston this year.
1 Why don’t they serve biscuits and gravy up here in Minneapolis? Yum!
2 Several librarians said that their girl patrons loved the books not because of the romance between Bella and Edward, but because of the vampires. Vampires, it seems, never lose their cool quotient.
3 We literally had girls (and boys!) screaming with excitement over our lenticular Superman/Batman bookmarks. I have to admit, they do look cool.
4 Uh, yes, one afternoon we improvised a version of Ben Hur. Complete with a chariot race and a sea battle of Roman warships.
For 6 months now I've been working on a project with the Region IV Head Start Association's Executive Director, Myra Ingram. Talk about inspiring! I've visited Head Start classrooms, talked with parents and teachers and children and today we have a chance to make a bigger dream real.
Greetings from sunny Tampa and the National Title I Conference!
April: Texas Library Association Conference
May: International Reading Association Conference
May: SLJ Day of Dialog/BEA
June: ALA Annual Conference
It’s crazy…but we also have lots of fun. First up is TLA in Austin where we have a phenomenal line-up of authors signing with us:
Wednesday, April 13th
10:15 am – 11:00 am Pat Mora (author aisles)
10:15 am – 11:00 am Rafael Lopez (author aisles)
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Lauren Oliver (author aisles)
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Will Hobbs (author aisles)
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Bettina Restrepo (author aisles)
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Crystal Allen (Harper booth 1824)
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Sophie Jordan (Harper booth 1824)
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Tera Lynn Childs (Harper booth 1824)
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Suzanne Harper (Harper booth 1824)
Thursday, April 14th
9:00 am – 10:00 am Diane Stanley (author aisles)
11:30 am – 12:00 pm Jason Henderson (Harper booth 1824)
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm Jennifer Archer (Harper booth 1824)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Kevin Henkes (author aisles)
3:00 pm – 3:30 pm Don Tate and Audrey Vernick (Harper booth 1824)
And don’t miss JAMIE LEE CURTIS as the Keynote Speaker on Wednesday, April 13th at 9:00 am!
Aside from our outstanding authors, we’ll have galleys galore at our booth (#1824) and we hope you’ll stop by to say hi to Patty, Robin, and me!
See you in Texas!
~ LauraAdd a Comment
When Nora’s father, Arturo leaves their home in Mexico to search for work in the United States, Nora stays back with her mother, Aurora and her grandmother. Nora struggles to make sense of her loss as the three women live in abject poverty in wait of Arturo’s return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and Aurora must go to Texas to find Arturo. After a harrowing and dehumanizing border crossing experience, Nora and Aurora find themselves all alone in a new place and not speaking the language. Befriending kind strangers in Texas, the two are offered employment after purchasing work papers, but their life in America is filled with challenges.
In her debut novel for teens, ILLEGAL, Bettina Restrepo shares a slice of the American experience that is compelling and harrowing, yet hopeful and uplifting.
In its starred review, Booklist said:
Get to know Bettina – this certainly isn’t the last you’ll be hearing of her! You can meet her at the Texas Library Association conference next month: she’ll be on the “Crossing the Border: Migrant Stories” panel on Wednesday, April 13th from 10:15-11:50 am, and she’ll sign in the author aisles afterward from 12:30-1:30 pm. Stop by to say hi!Add a Comment
I am excited to announce that I have survived my very first TLA setup day all by myself. I've only been to TLA as part of Blooming Tree. CBAY has never exhibited before, and it's very exciting to have enough books to fill a whole booth. I posted some pictures over on Facebook if you're curious to see the booth.
My plan for this week is to do a bunch of tweets, Facebook, and video updates throughout the conference. So, be sure you're subscribed to everything so you can see the fun!
I didn't go to TLA this year, but Capstone was there in full force. My boss was sent down to Austin with directions to not return unless he brought a signed copy of one of the Kylie Jean books for me. Our wonderful author Marci Peschke did a signing at the show, and the books were a huge hit--she signed over 200 copies.
The first thing Michael did this morning was hand this over to me. Yay!
So there are two reports about what I did in Austin, what I ate and what I did at TLA. Sometimes they overlap. That said, this is the what I did at TxLA post. The other one will be over at jessamyn.com. I’ll add a note here when I’ve posted it.
I went to TxLA to give a talk about the digital divide. I had done a talk the previous month for SXSW but really it was mostly me introducing my co-presenters and then letting them go. I have a little page for that here and you can listen to how it went here. I was pleased with it, but it wasn’t the talk I wanted to give for TxLA. Here is the talk that I gave for TxLA (an all new talk, one that I’m very happy with) and here is a blog-report of it. I felt like it went well, though one of the downsides to being at a giant conference is that a lot of the talks, even ones that I thought would be crazy popular, were only about half full. Here is what else I saw
OK, must leave early, early Tuesday morning to get there in time.
Just received this notice from the Young Adult Roundtable about upcoming TLA conference:
Tuesday afternoon, April 15
At 2:00-3:50pm, Texas author Rick Riordan will moderate the panel,
STRONG VOICES, OTHER WORLDS: YA FANTASY AUTHORS, featuring John Flanagan, Cinda Williams Chima, Jacqueline Kolosov, Libba Bray and Suzanne Collins.
Last night I scheduled my newest spring speaking engagement. As I was adding it into my calendar today, it occurred to me that I should make my schedule public so that if I'm going to be somewhere near you, you can come visit with me. I like being able to put faces with names even if I never seem to remember either one. So without much ado:
March 15 -- San Antonio SCBWI monthly meeting
April 15-18 -- TLA in Dallas (I'm not speaking, but I will be manning our booth. Yuck.)
May 28 -- Agent/Editor Pitch Session hosted by Writer's Digest at BEA (So, this one isn't confirmed yet, but I shall cry if I don't end up getting to do this. As far as I can tell, I'm the only person even sort of excited by the prospect of 2 straight hours of having authors pitch to me for three minutes.)
May 27-31 -- BEA (I'll be in LA for BEA although we don't have a booth. However, I'll happily meet up with anyone who is going to BEA too.)
Now if you're looking at this and thinking, but I live nowhere near these places, then I have only one solution for you. You have to start your own conference and invite me to speak. I jest. But if you do know of a conference in your area, and you think I should be speaking at it, either recommend me to them or tell me about the conference and I'll recommend myself. Either way we'll all eventually meet up someday.
This third week of April was designated as Young People’s Poetry Week (by the Children's Book Council), so I’m tickled that my TLA Poetry Round Up occurs this week. One of the panelists for our Round Up is the up-and-comer Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. A former teacher of kids with special needs, and the author of many teaching and discussion guides for books by other writers, Tracie grew up in Ohio with a twin sister and a big family. Early teachers encouraged her writing and she published her first book, a poetry collection, Sketches from a Spy Tree, in 2005, a New York Public Library Best Book.
Last year’s book, Reaching for Sun, is a wonderful coming-of-age story about a girl growing up with cerebral palsy, told through free verse poems. It is also the winner of the Schneider Family Book award. School Library Journal hailed its “poetic structure” and “imagery” and Booklist noted that this “appealing story will capture readers' hearts with its winsome heroine and affecting situations.”
Tracie’s newest poetry book, 42 Miles, is about a girl who is turning thirteen and lives a life divided between her city apartment with her mom and the family farm with her dad. Tracie’s first work that is not poetry is also debuting this year, A Floating Circus, a historical novel set on a circus boat in the 1850's. What diversity!
For a taste of Tracie’s writing, here is a sample poem from Reaching for Sun:
by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
What do you want to be?
adults always ask,
as if you know
what you want to be doing
I used to make up stuff:
all the people
I knew my mom
wanted to hear.
more what I don’t want to be:
a single parent,
stuck behind some desk
or in school longer than
I need to go.
And that will have to be
From Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. 2007. Reaching for Sun. Bloomsbury (p. 175-176).
Picture credit: www.motherreader.com
This week, we’re off to Dallas for TLA. If you’re in town for the conference, please stop by our booth (#2414) and say hello! Joan Berge, Maryellen Gregoire, Michael Dahl, and Heather Kindseth will be at the conference representing Stone Arch Books.
As always, we’ve got special events planned! Come have your picture taken with the mysterious Librarian of Doom, star of our bestselling series, in the Stone Arch Books booth on Thursday from 9-2. Those photos will be on display in the booth on Friday. At various other times on Thursday and Friday, author Michael Dahl will sign Library of Doom posters and books—stop by the booth and see if he’s there! Even if he’s not, take home a poster featuring our incredibly popular Impact Books sports series by Jake Maddox.
There’s more! If you attend a Capstone Interactive Library presentation at the Technology Showcase area in the exhibit hall from 9:00-9:50 a.m., Thursday, April 17, OR stop by the Capstone Publishers Interactive demo area (located between booths 2409 and 2415), you’ll receive a coupon for a free interactive CD of your choice.
See you in Texas!
I’m still riding the high of my Poetry Round Up at the Texas Library Association conference this week! Five fabulous poets, John Frank, Juanita Havill, Alan Katz, Linda Sue Park, and Adam Rex, worked their magic on an audience of nearly 200 participants. It was fantastic! John Frank read from How to Catch a Fish and his new collection, Keepers, in his deep and steady voice. Juanita shared excerpts from her new novel in verse, Grow, that brought several audience members to tears. Alan Katz had us in stitches laughing over poems from his new book, Oops, and his upcoming follow up, Uh-Oh. What fun to feature Linda Sue Park as a POET as she read her sijo poems from Tap Dancing on the Roof, plus a brand new sijo on explaining baseball to an alien. And Adam Rex wrapped it up for us with his deadpan delivery accompanied by slides from his hysterical collection, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, as well as the upcoming sequel, Frankenstein Bakes a Cake. (Thank you ALL for coming and sharing!) [Unfortunately, poet Tracie Vaughn Zimmer was not able to come due to an illness, but we hope she is well soon and will join us for the Round Up next year!]
What fun! What variety! The different voices, styles, and approaches helped the audience see the tremendous range of poetry available for young people today. PLUS, the experience of HEARING poetry was moving and exhilarating. People stopped me throughout the rest of the conference to tell me how much they had enjoyed the session. One woman said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I loved just soaking up the words of the poets, sitting back and taking it all in. But I also realized that I was getting ideas about how to share the poems with kids, how to connect the poems with various activities, and get kids involved.” EXACTLY! We spend so much time at conferences attending informational sessions, learning new strategies, networking, etc. But so little time just reveling in literature, hearing the lyrical language of literature, remembering what motivates us all to work as librarians and teachers—sharing our love of literature with kids and hoping they’ll love it too. And in my experience, nothing captures that quite so well as experiencing the literature firsthand through reading and listening—especially to literature read by the creator. It’s primal!
I’m proud to say we’ve brought 26 poets to Texas over the last four years including: John Frank, Juanita Havill, Alan Katz, Linda Sue Park, Adam Rex, Jaime Adoff, Tony Crunk, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Charise Mericle Harper, Heidi Zingerline Mordhorst, Eileen Spinelli, Marilyn Singer, Calef Brown, Felipe Herrera, Kathi Appelt, Nikki Grimes, Stephanie Hemphill, Carole Boston Weatherford, Walter Dean Myers, Joyce Sidman, Quincy Troupe, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Janet Wong, Kurt Cyrus, Pat Mora, Susan Pearson. What an embarrassment of riches! Each voice has been a delight. I encourage you all to seek out poets and poetry and share them OUT LOUD with kids you care about. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s like a rock concert experience, a night at the theater, or meeting the President (any president!).
Some of the most interesting literature for children today can be found in poetry-- from humorous rhymes to verse novels. How do we create a welcoming environment for poetry? Poet and teacher Georgia Heard put it this way, “Kids need to become friends with poetry…. They need to know that poems can comfort them, make them laugh, help them remember, nurture them to know and understand themselves more completely” (1999, p.20). This session helped participants become familiar with some of the best poets writing for young people today with a panel of acclaimed poets sharing favorites from their own work through reading aloud or performance. Modeled after the “Poetry Blast” session first sponsored by ALSC at the 2004 ALA convention, this session reminds us all of the pleasures to be found in the spoken word. Look for it again next year at TLA in Houston—and in Anaheim at the ALSC Poetry Blast on Monday, June 30. See you there!
Picture credit: www.rccsd.org
We've come to the last day of TLA. I'm actually here in the convention center at the Maximum Ride Internet Room. Yep, that's right. Even something like the Texas Library Association manages to find corporate sponsorship for their stuff. No one is immune. I would like some corporate sponsorship for my corporation. It seems unlikely.
I was to tired to list the readers I was excited to get, but I've got a few moments until the exhibit hall opens, so I'll do it now.
We’ve been busy (hence the lack of posts lately): Michael, Heather, and Joan were manning the booth at TLA, where they met with a ton of awesome librarians. Back at the ranch, the editorial and design staffs have been in the throes of finishing up our Fall 2009 books. About half of our 100 or so books for that season have been sent to the printer, and we’re already starting to see proofs (the last stage during which we can make changes).
While we’re all either flying across the country or spending lots of time at our desks, finishing up the season, we’ve all been thrilled to take some time out to enjoy the buzz about our Super Hero contest. (Check out our list of links, to the left.) I hear from the art department that the sketches for the book THE KID WHO SAVED SUPERMAN have just come in, and Bob, our art director, said he’s sure contest winner Hakeem is going to love seeing his likeness in the book.
We will be back soon with pics and a recap from TLA. In the meantime, check out the links and enjoy...and rest assured we’re busy making awesome books that’ll be available in less than four months!
(Administrative note: We’ve added some check boxes to each blog post. Please let us know what you think. We want this blog to provide what you’re looking for, so if you have additional comments or ideas, you can leave a comment or email me.)
I am freshly returned from the Texas Library Association Conference in Houston. I do not know the numbers in attendance, but if my observations were correct, there were thousands upon thousands. Handouts from the sessions are available here for those of you interested (http://www.txla.org/conference/handouts.html). Here are a few things I noticed:
1. There were many of us using Twitter to provide some updates on sessions and hot books to be had.
2. Facebook friending (and posting) was occurring at an alarming rate.
3. Publishers were thrilled to see interest still in books as well as technology.
4. Authors were blogging and tweeting and posting to FB, too.
5. Librarians are eager to learn about anything they can use to keep teens (and kids) connected to learning. They brought along administrators and teachers this time. You should have seen the wide eyes when those first-timers saw the bounty of the exhibits and the conference sessions.
I guess this was an affirmation of a couple of things I hold to be true but needed some evidence: Web 2.0 is alive and well. These apps can exist nicely alongside books.
Posted by Teri LesesneAdd a Comment