Jul 06 2015
Although I’ve been to the American Library Association‘s (smaller) Midwinter show, I’d never been to the main ALA Annual show until last week. It was a really wonderful experience. Alison and I flew out a week early to explore and visit friends in the area. Here are a few highlights of our travels and of the show (below the cut):
We arrived the Friday before ALA to do sightseeing and visit friends in the bay area. We started out in Palo Alto and San Jose. We visited two great bookstores, Hicklebee’s in San Jose, where the walls are covered with sketches by authors & illustrators, and Book Shop Santa Cruz, where I signed the very impressive collection of my books they had in stock.
From there we drove down to Point Lobos. Just south of Monterey, this is one of our favorite spots for nature — wind, waves, seals, sea birds, sea otters, sea lions, and I’m pretty sure we even saw whales far out from shore! We also drove the seaward half of Seventeen Mile Drive and Sunset Drive, ending up in Monterey for dinner, then drove back to Palo Alto through a beautiful sunset. In several of these shots, what appear to be featureless bumps on the rocks are actually clusters of harbor seals sunning themselves.
We headed up to Oakland and Berkeley Tuesday, then on Wednesday we went into town by way of the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping at Fort Baker to sketch and take photos. We headed into the park and went to the Academy of Science, then drove around a bit enjoying the hilly scenery of San Francisco itself, before heading to the Ferry Building and meeting up with more friends for dinner.
Thursday and Friday were a mix of sightseeing in the city and setup for the show, where I had a table in “Artist Alley” to sell and promote my books. The exhibit hall ran Friday through Monday. It was an excellent show — not as wildly successful as NCTE tends to be for me, but better than a general-interest book or comic show. Especially notable events: my fist signing for Samurai Rising with the author Pamela Turner; a lovely Charlesbridge dinner; an amazing party at Chronicle featuring treats from their cookbooks; several other great parties we *may* have crashed; and finally the Newbery Caldecott Wilder award banquet, with acceptance speeches by the winners of those awards (with many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for hosting us!).
Dan Santat gave an amazing, incredibly emotionally honest speech about the self-doubt that has driven him to work so hard. Then Kwame Alexander rocked the house with a full-on sermon in verse about how to win the Newbery. Lastly Donald Crews gave a quieter but equally powerful speech about his and his wife’s careers across several eras of children’s publishing.
As soon as I got back I had a week-long aikido camp, so now I really need to get back to the drawing board and do some serious catch-up!