Oh, wow . . . where to start.
So YALSA is the big YA librarians conference. This year it was in St. Louis. Bucketloads of authors, librarians, teachers etc. descended on the Lou and painted the town in various aesthetically pleasing 12-point easy-read typefaces. There were some fantastic panels, and a Book Blitz in which more than a thousand librarians were given the opportunity to snap up five free novels. The signing lines were long and orderly, and the mood rather like Christmas morning. (Thanks to Penguin for making several boxes of my books available – it kept me busy for almost two hours. I even got to sign copies of ELEMENTAL, which doesn’t come out for three weeks. I hope none of the librarians got freaked out by the way I kept looking at the book like a proud pop.)
I was on a “Guys talking to guys” panel on Sunday morning with authors Andrew Smith, Greg Neri, and Torrey Maldonado. Really interesting panel, and it was especially cool to have the insights of four local teens. In the top photo you can see Torrey charming everyone. The whole experience was fantastic. Huge kudos to Carrie Dietz for putting such an ambitious panel together.
Best of all, I got to meet literally hundreds of new friends at YALSA. My fellow participants on the Guys panel, Torrey and Greg, stayed at my house. We stayed up way too late and talked way too loudly. My good friend Brian Katcher and Deborah Heiligman did an excellent book signing event on Friday evening. David Levithan and Patricia McCormick gave inspiring keynote addresses. I met Julie Cross, author of TEMPEST, and A.S. King, author of ASK THE PASSENGERS, and Beck McDowell, author of THIS IS NOT A DRILL, and . . . well, I’ll stop there, or I’ll have a thesis-length post on my hands.
Finally, I got to meet folks I’ve known online for years, including Capillya (aka: host of awesome YA cover art blog, That Cover Girl). You can see Capillya, Torrey, Audrey (my wife!) and I in the photo next door. (Photo credit to the brilliant Adele Walsh, who flew in from Australia, thereby winning the “most air miles” award.)
Huge thanks to the organizers for putting on such a good show. And a big pat on the back to the many St. Louis folks. I heard over and over how impressed attendees were with the city, the libraries, and the people. Good to see our city being shown in such a positive light.