Monday, July 02, 2007

The highlights of ALA


I was working on a very detailed wrap-up of ALA, but it seemed so daunting and exhausting to attempt. So here's an abbreviated version of some of the highlights. Pictures to come!

1) Congratulations for Justina Chen Headley for winning the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association Youth (APALA) Literature Award for Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), and to BRG Grace Lin for winning the honor for The Year of the Dog. Justina and I attended the awards breakfast on Sunday morning at ALA. I accepted on Grace's behalf. Grace, you were missed. Then Justina accepted her award and called me out as the editor for both her book and Grace's, and afterwards everyone congratulated me on my "sweep".

Congratulations Justina, Grace, and all the winners!

Justina and me, holding the newly "stickered" books

2) Saturday night was our fiction dinner, featuring authors Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl), Sherman Alexie (Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), and Jerry Spinelli (Eggs). This type of dinner was new to me, and I thought the format was great. Basically, there were three tables filled with librarians. Our publisher Megan Tingley made a little introduction, and then our amazing, tireless (as long as she has her Diet Coke or Tab) library marketing manager Victoria Stapleton explained how the dinner would work. Each table featured one author. First Sara Zarr read 3-5 minutes from her book, then everyone sat down for salad. Then the authors rotated to sit at a different table, and Sherman Alexie read from his book. Then we ate our entrees. Then the authors switched tables again, and Jerry Spinelli read from his book, and then we enjoyed our dessert. Afterwards, the authors signed copies for everyone there. So, a bit like our librarian previews. Overall, it was a fabulous evening: I was delighted to meet both Sara and Sherman for the first time, the conversation flowed, and the food was delicious, too (salmon).

Jerry reading from Eggs with Sherman Alexie looking and listening on

3) Sunday afternoon was our picture book lunch, featuring author/illustrators Peter Brown (The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder), Patrick McDonnell (Hug Time), and Jerry Pinkney (Little Red Riding Hood). We featured original art from all of the books, and then the format was similar to that of the fiction lunch, except instead of reading from their books, the illustrators all talked for a few minutes about their books and illustrations. And I'll add that once again, the food was delicious (I had the vegetarian pasta option that was great, because the meat entree was chicken with a mango salsa, and I'm allergic to mango), as was the company. I listened in on a fascinating conversation between two Texan librarians who explained to me to process of challenging a book in their library system.

Art on display from The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder

4) I attended the Newbery/Caldecott dinner on Sunday night for the first time. Peter Brown and Jerry Pinkney joined us, as well as Jerry's agent Sheldon Fogelman and author Cecil Castellicci who, along with Holly Black, is working on an exciting short story collection for us (but I'll talk about that more in the future). I had a FANTASTIC time. I sat next to librarian Nina Lindsay aka Martha (I'll add an amazing picture of her in her outfit, homage to James Marshall, soon.) David Wiesner's speech was solid--funny, touching, thought-provoking, and I thought Susan Patron's speech was absolutely amazing. An editor friend of mine warned me beforehand, "Did you see the CDs? The Newbery speech is 25 minutes long!!" and we were afraid it would drag. We also took bets on whether "scrotum" would be mentioned. Thankfully, the speech didn't drag at all. It was hilarious (she collected foam shoulder pads and planned to sew them together into a quilt), touching (she told of how she met her husband), fascinating (it was great hearing about the whole scrotum controversy from her point of view), and inspiring. And she mentioned Fuse#8 in her speech! (Betsy looked dashing in her red dress, by the way.)

Nina Lindsay dressed as Martha (as in George and Martha)

And that's my wrap-up for now. I had a post last week on my personal blog about the books on my Spring 09 list, so check it out here.

And on a personal note, I'm celebrating my fifth-year anniversary of moving to NY. Oh, NYC, how I still love thee, even five years later. May our relationship last longer still.

More pics:

Senior Editor Jennifer Hunt and Sherman Alexie after his book signing on Saturday

At the Kidlit Drinks Night, our host MotherReader on the left
(and can someone identify the blogger on the right?)

the dessert at the fiction dinner--a very light citrusy thing

with Jerry Spinelli after his signing Sunday morning

Lisa triumphant with her amazing spiral of ARCs for Betwixt.


Anonymous said...


Do you have any ARCs left for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian? I see the pub date isn't until September. I would love to read it sooner.


alvinaling said...

I think we might have been wiped out after ALA, but I'll check for you!

Elizabeth O Dulemba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth O Dulemba said...

I'm allergic to mango too! This must be much more common than is generally thought . . .
Sounds like a great time.

Nina Lindsay said...

Thanks again--I had a wonderful time at the banquet and the Saturday dinner. You're right, it was a great format.

Anonymous said...


Another terrific outfit! Martha - too perfect. I am so glad that Alvina documented it. Did you sew it? (As I recall, you wore a wonderful red mask last year.)

...and next year? Something undoubtly smashing and relevant for the chair of the Newbery.


Nina Lindsay said...

Well, I sort of sewed it; the fabric came like that: quilted silk. I spent a heckuva hard time shopping for it, and stitched a basic A-Line with elastic. You know: 5th grade.

The handbag and the flower I commissioned from a friend of mine who also does this:

Emily Jiang said...

Wow, I love your pics! Nina's costume is fantasic, as is the twisty book sculpture. The food looked so delicious!

Emily Jiang said...

I forgot to mention - congrats on the awards for Justina and Grace's books!

Anonymous said...

Niiiice stickers!

Congratulations, Justina, Grace, and Alvina. :)

Laura Atkins said...

Hey Alvina, big congrats on the awards on your books. It sounds like it was a great conference. And how cool that you are publishing Sherman Alexie! I spoke with him years ago when I was at Lee & Low, desperate to get him to do a book with us! He's one of my favorite authors (so ditto on Katherine's comments about ARCs on his book - if there are any!). And thanks for the sweet comment on my blog about the new baby. I'm glad you like her name (we do too!).
Cheers, Laura