Thank you Chicago, ALA, and The American Writers Museum!

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Chicago was anything but the windy city this weekend. It was warm and welcoming as it greeted thousands of librarians, publishers, editors, writers, illustrators, and literary aficionados for ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition.

It’s hard not to feel like a kid in a candy store when attending ALA. And like a well-prepared kid ready to take home a treasure trove of loot, I came prepared with my empty bags. In my years of attending ALA, I have also learned that the extremely patient Fed Ex worker, who is silently laughing at my creatively wrapped packages, has become my new best friend. (At this time, I would like to shout out a very big thank you to my Grandpa Harry for teaching me how to defy the laws of physics with masking tape.)

Here are a few photographic highlights from #alaac17:

 

Creston Books

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Detectives Wilcox & Griswold, me, and Marissa Moss

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Nancy Churnin

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Marcia Goldman and Princess Lola

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Laurie Wallmark and Sue Conolly

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Marissa Moss and Kathryn Otoshi

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Carol Weston

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Monica Edinger and Donalyn Miller

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Tracey Baptiste

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Me and Emma Otheguy

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The AWESOME Mr. Schu!

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Laurie Wallmark, Mr. Schu, and me

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Panel discussion, “Women Aren’t Funny (And Other Essential Untruths for Middle Grade Readers) with Sharyn November, Erica Perl, Betsy Bird, Cece Bell, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Andrea Beaty

During this literary palooza of a weekend, I also had the privilege of being invited to do a reading at the The American Writers Museum. With the mission of “celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives[,]”[1] The American Writers Museum opened its doors on May 15, 2017.

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While walking around and gazing at the words and portraits of many of my writing superheroes, it was impossible not to reflect upon the impact each of these authors have had on all of us—how they’ve stirred our imagination; comforted us in times of grief; given us a serious case of the giggles; and put us to bed night after night.

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As a writer, I also couldn’t help but think about the number of rewrites each of these authors had to do. How many authors were on the brink of giving up when they finally got their lucky break? What’s the tally on the number of rejections vs. successes?

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Untitled Mural by Paul O. Zelinsky

Next time you’re in Chicago be sure to stop by this inspiring magical place. I promise. You won’t be disappointed.

[1] Source: http://americanwritersmuseum.org/history/

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International Literacy Association Conference & Exhibits #ILA16

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Gray skies couldn’t dampen the excitement at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, where educators, librarians, writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers came out in droves to support and promote worldwide literacy.

Here are a few photographic highlights:

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Creston Book authors and illustrators are in the house! 

Me, JoAnn Adinolfi, and Darlene Beck-Jacobson

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JoAnn Adinolfi and Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

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JoAnn Adinolfi, me, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, and John Schumacher, a/k/a the great Mr. Schu, Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic

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Josh Funk 

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Peter Reynolds 

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And a trip to Boston wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Robert McCloskey’s wonderful ducklings at the Boston Public Garden.

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If you’re interested in getting involved with the fight to advance literacy, please visit ILA’s website by clicking here.

“The ability to read, write, and communicate connects people to one another and empowers them to achieve things they never thought possible. Communication and connection are the basis of who we are and how we live together and interact with the world.”

Source: ILA website

 

 

ALA 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition #ALAAC16

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Every time I go to ALA I feel like a kid in a candy store. Where else in the world can you meet your favorite librarians, educators, editors, and publishers; bump into Dan Santat in the hallway; and hear your child scream with delight, “Mo Willems is HERE! HE’S HERE!!!

Below are a few photographic highlights from this year’s INCREDIBLE conference.

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My super excited boys with their super cool exhibitor badges. 

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Mo Willems

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“Hi Mr. Schu!” 

Pam Muñoz Ryan

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Alyson Beecher, me, Lola, Marcia Goldman, Marissa Moss and Kathryn Otoshi 

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Alyson Beecher and me

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Stephanie Bange and me

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Marissa Moss

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Marcia Goldman, Lola and her adorable fans

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Wilcox & Griswold, me and Marissa Moss

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Kathryn Otoshi

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Bethany Buck and me

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Sergio Ruzzier

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Kwame Alexander

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Rita Williams-Garcia and me

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Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen

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Jerry Pinkney

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me and Dan Santat

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Lori Degman’s adorable new book. Norbert is one radiant, terrific pig. 

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A well-prepared librarian! 

As my favorite spider might say, ALA is some conference. I can hardly wait for next year. Thank you, ALA!