This was my first trip to the American Library Association’s annual conference and it was a whirlwind tour for me. I arrived in Las Vegas around lunchtime on Friday, then headed back to the airport around dinnertime on Saturday.
In between I packed an inhumanly large number of activities. After communing with a couple slot machines, I scoped out the convention floor, then had dinner with my editor, Stacy Whitman (@stacylwhitman), publisher of Lee and Low’s Tu Books. Librarian Nina Lindsay and fellow author Valynne Maetani (@valynnemaetani) joined us.
On the way to the restaurant, I noticed an odd thing about Las Vegas (okay, there are a lot of odd things about Las Vegas)–all the faux architecture around town. Like the imitation Arc de Triomphe outside the Paris hotel and the fake Eiffel Tower. It’s like Disneyland for adults. A never-ending costume party as well with some very interesting apparel choices.
Saturday morning, I met with representatives from two of ALA’s ethnic caucuses–Heather Devine from AILA and Eugenia Beh (@ebeh) from APALA. We discussed ways they could get involved in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, and how WNDB can utilize the ALA caucuses as a resource. Sadly, we didn’t think to take a selfie of the three of us. :-(
After a cruise of the convention floor, I returned to the Lee and Low booth to meet fellow Lee and Low author and new WNDB team member, Don Tate (@Devas_T), who was signing at the Lee and Low booth. Seems I can’t quite keep my eyes open when I get my picture taken. I got a copy of Don’s book IT JES’ HAPPENED which will probably end up with my older granddaughter once I’ve read it a few times and had a chance to enjoy its beautiful illustrations.
After visiting with Don, I stopped at Meg Medina’s signing (@Meg_Medina) to buy her book YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS. I later crashed Matt de la Pena’s signing, stopping to introduce myself. He was very nice about my interruption. Also, Stacy introduced me to Jacqueline Woodson and between her and Matt, I was pretty starstruck.
I timed my return from lunch perfectly. Not just because I had a 2pm signing of the Tankborn Trilogy at the Lee and Low booth, but because Eriq La Salle (@EriqLaSalle23), the actor who played the prickly surgeon, Peter Benton, in ER, was just starting his signing. He’s writing a thriller series, self-publishing through Ingrams program. I managed to get a quick shot of him in passing.
My own signing was great, giving me a chance to meet fans and talk to librarians about the Tankborn Trilogy. After my autographing session, I headed over to the Special Events section where the Oakland Library (@oaklibrary) was participating in a poster session. They’d put together a bunch of the beautiful #WeNeedDiverseBooks photos that they’d taken during the campaign.
As inspiring as it was seeing those photos come through tweet by tweet, it was amazing seeing them all together in one display. I also got a chance to meet the librarians responsible, Sharon McKellar (@sharon), Nina Lindsay, and Helen Bloch. They had sheets handy with “We Need Diverse Books” across the top for people to write their own response. Sharon took their pictures and insta-tweeted them on the spot.
I headed back to the airport shortly after the poster session. Great conference. I’m looking forward to ALA 2015 in San Francisco. :-)