Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Geek Weekend!

I've been trying to get this blog done for days now but I keep getting distracted by the Internet! Or my dogs. Or books that need reading. Anyway, Discipline is the word of the day so I've given my dogs toys to distract them, put aside the books, and, well, I'll just have to use will power to resist the Internet.

I had a fantastic time in New Orleans at the American Library Association (ALA) conference this past weekend and I promised you pictures so here we go. Mr. Richards and I ate lots of good food while we were there, including these beignets (ben-YAYs) which are square, french doughnuts buried under about a pound of powdered sugar. The first author I saw was Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. Number 6 will be published in the fall! It's called "Cabin Fever." Since that book isn't out yet, I had him sign two other books:After the signing, Mr. Kinney gave a talk in which he described how his life has changed since Diary of a Wimpy Kid has gotten so popular. He said that in spite of the books being best sellers and having been made into movies, he still has his day job and doesn't get recognized much in his own home town. He also said that he'd like to write four more Wimpy Kid books, making the series 10 books in total, and after that, he doesn't know what he'll do. Here is a link to what he does for his day job.

The next author that I met was Dan Gutman who writes the "My Weird School" series and the "Baseball Card Adventures." I had him sign two books for me and he was very nice.
The next author I saw was Jennifer Holm, author of the Babymouse series of graphic novels and three time Newbery Honoree. She actually lives in the bay area and I saw her again today at Hicklebee's. She is a delightful person. I attended a talk in which she and two other Newbery Honorees participated. The topic of discussion was what it's like when your first book earns a Newbery Honor. The other authors were Ingrid Law (Savvy) and Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky). I really enjoyed listening to these authors describe what it was like to "get the call", how it changed their lives, and the pressure they felt when writing their second book. The next talk I saw was given by William Joyce. William Joyce is an author and illustrator that I have admired for many years. I used to read his books (Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures With the Family Lizardo, A Day With Wilbur Robinson, Santa Calls) to my daughters when they were little and these books are still among my all time favorites. More recently, Mr. Joyce has worked on animated films such as Meet the Robinsons and Robots and the television show Rolie Polie Olie. Mr. Joyce talked at length about his current project called The Gaurdians and it includes picture books, chapter books, and a feature film.
The inspiration for the project came from Mr. Joyce's own childhood and that of his children. SPOILER ALERT: If you are a child of a certain age, you may not want to read further. Some things, once they've been seen, cannot be unseen. Skip down to the next picture. You have been warned. As a child, Mr. Joyce believed everything he heard and saw. He believed that King Kong was real and felt sad for the giant ape at the end of the movie. He felt equally sad when he learned that giant apes don't really exist. This experience was repeated when he learned the truth about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. When he had children of his own, he decided that he wanted their childhoods to be as magical as possible for as long as possible and so he went to great lengths to leave evidence of visitations by not only Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy, but also Leprechauns, Jack Frost, and the Man in the Moon, mostly in the form of footprints and glitter. During this time, Mr. Joyce pondered the origins of these characters and upon researching them, found that they did not have satisfying mythologies, not the way comic book super heroes do. But kids don't believe that super heroes are real. Mr. Joyce wanted to combine the kind of mythology that Superman or Batman has with the belief that children have in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. For the last twenty years, Mr. Joyce has been working out this mythology by asking his children what they think and creating stories with them. The results can be seen in the first book in the series "The Man in the Moon." This first book sets the stage for the rest of the series in which the Man in the Moon, or Mim, gathers a team of Gaurdians to protect children from nightmares. Sadly, Mr. Joyce lost his daughter to illness last year. He was able to read this first book to her before she passed and she told him that people who read this book to their children will become guardians themselves. I read the book this morning and it is absolutely beautiful. The story is sweet and the illustrations are lush. I'm very excited to share this book with the Marshall Lane kids and I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the books. Here is a picture of Mr. Joyce signing a copy of Man in the Moon for me. I've got my squeee face on.

Well, I'm only about halfway through this and I had to stop and fix dinner (and eat it!) which means I'm now in evening mode so I think I'm going to stop here and finish this tomorrow. Lots more pictures and stuff for you then. Good night!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mrs. Richards Meets the Authors

Wow! What a day! I got up early so I could get to the convention center early enough to get a book signed by a certain author and I'm happy to report I was successful in getting TWO books signed! And that author was Jeff Kinney! This was no small feat, mind you. There were over a hundred people waiting to get into the exhibit hall and then it was a race to the Abrams booth to queue up for the signing. Some people were quite aggressive! But I calmly got my place in line and got my books signed and a picture too! I also got books signed by Dan Gutman, Jennifer Holm, William Joyce, and Jenni Offill and Nancy Carpenter! In addition, I attended talks by Jeff Kinney and William Joyce. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6 comes out in the fall and William Joyce has a new series coming out called the Guardians which looks fantastic! He showed us a terrific book trailer which I can't find online right now. When I find it, I'll link it here. Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (writer and illustrator of 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore) have a new book coming out and it's called 11 Experiments That Failed. It is so new that I actually bought the very first copy available to be sold!

I'm so excited about the books that I will be bringing back to the library in the fall! I will post all the pictures I took plus some links when I get back home. Right now, I think I'll take a nap!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Free books, author on the bus, CBLDF poster

Day 2 New Orleans. The exhibits at the American Library Association conference officially opened today. The convention center in NOLA is so huge that someone tweeted this morning that "not only does the east end of the convention center have its own time zone, but the conference directory has its own gravitational pull!"

Anyway, for me there wasn't much going on at the conference today so Mr. Richards and I strolled around the french quarter and had some food. Then we napped because that's what food and strolling will do to you. At 5:30 the exhibit floor opened. I've already spoken of the hugeness of this thing right? Well, it's huge. I'm a newb at this kind of thing so I kind of wandered around with my mouth agape and watched other, more savvy librarians grabbing all the free stuff. But I caught on pretty quickly and nabbed some goodies for our library. Mostly posters and book marks but also some free books. Tomorrow there will be authors signing books in the exhibit hall and I have a plan.....

Speaking of authors, I happened to sit next to one on the shuttle bus back to my hotel this evening. I can't remember her name at the moment, but she is a retired teacher librarian who now writes children's books. She's going to be signing books tomorrow, I'll try to stop by and say hello to her again if I can. Other authors I will be trying to see tomorrow include Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Jack Gantos (Joey Pigza), Dan Gutman (My Weird School), Jennifer Holm (Babymouse), and Jenny Offill (17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore), all Marshall Lane favorites.

While I was checking out all the booths, I came across the booth for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I made a donation and got a poster signed by Neil Gaiman. CBLDF does important work protecting First Amendment rights for comic book writers, illustrators, publishers, and readers. Here is a particularly chilling story illustrating the importance of their work.

It's late now and I have to get up early and hunt authors tomorrow. I'll let you know how that pans out.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I'm in New Orleans!

I'm going to make this brief and also apologize ahead of time for spelling and grammar mistakes because I'm typing this on my iPad. That also means no pictures just yet. I'm here in New Orleans for the ALA annual conference, I'm pretty excited about it. There's going to be lots of authors here and I'm hoping to bring home some signed stuff and pictures for my author shrine. My main targets are Jeff Kinney - **Diary of a Wimpy Kid** - and Jennifer Holm - **Babymouse**. we'll see how that goes.

Any way, we had a long day of travel, which included diverted flights and missed connections but made up for it with a fabulous dinner once we arrived. I'll be tweeting as much as possible and I'll post pictures when I can, either here or on Facebook. But for now, goodnight my lovelies!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Closing for the Summer

The book shelves are getting pretty tight as all those fabulous books are coming back to the library to hibernate for the summer. I'm going to miss my little library regulars but I'm sure they'll be enjoying plenty of books over the summer. In fact, the Saratoga Library children's librarians came to Marshall Lane today to present their Summer Reading Program. You can find out more about it here. If you click on the orange "kids" button, you can find lots of ideas for what to read next. There are lists by grade level or you can subscribe to Next Reads to get recommendations by email. Another great place to find out about books is At Kidsreads, they have a team of reviewers reading and reviewing lots of new kids books. They keep archives of their reviews so you can read about older books. They also have author interviews, previews of coming releases, plus contests and giveaways.

As for what I'm doing this Summer, I'll be heading to New Orleans to attend the American Library Association's annual conference later this month. There will be some authors there (Jeff Kinney!), so I'm hoping to add to my author shrine and get some books signed. Then, as soon as I get back from that I'll be heading up to Berkeley to see Neil Gaiman on his American Gods 10th anniversary tour. Last fall I went to an American Gods event at the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. You can read about that here and here. And you if haven't read American Gods yet, grown ups, I highly recommend it.

The last Harry Potter movie will be coming out in July so I'm kind of nerding out over that. In fact, I'm participating in a knitting challenge on called Nerd Wars. I'm on Team Dumbledore's Army and I'm currently working on knitting a year one Gryffindor house scarf for the team spirit challenge. If you want to learn more about Nerd Wars, you can read about it here. And, of course, while I'm doing all this knitting in anticipation of HP7P2, I'll be listening to books 1-7 on my nano.

Finally, I'm thinking of another project for the Summer, having to do with books, but it's kind of super secret right now. If it gets off the ground, I will let you know and share it with you, but if not, I will let you in on my failure. In any case, getting it out of my head and into other people's expectations will surely motivate me to act on my idea.

Well, Mr. Richards just told me it sounds like I'm writing a paper over here so I must have written enough by now. One more quick thing: the Fabulous Room 3 is working on a 90 Second Newbery film of Charlotte's Web! They have been working very hard and I can't wait to see the results!

Have a great last 3 days of school! Don't forget to check the blog over the summer, I'll be here!