ALA New Orleans Recap
June 30, 2011 Leave a comment
I’ve been back in Colorado for a couple days (after attending the ALA Annual Conference in lovely New Orleans), and now it’s time to reflect on what a wonderful four days it was. This year’s ALA was my first big publishing conference, and I was amazed at the scale of the exhibit hall and the incredible assortment of publishers. I was in book heaven! Carolyn (fabulous Fulcrum editor) and I had a great time taking it all in, browsing the rows and rows of books, and meeting new people. I even got my photo taken with the adorable Piggie and Gerald from the Mo Willems books.
But aside from the excitement of books, books, books and meeting plush children’s book characters, Carolyn and I were able to finally meet Trickster: Native American Tales editor Matt Dembicki, as well as two incredible Native American storytellers and Trickster contributors, Tim Tingle and Michael Thompson. I felt quite lucky to be in the same room with these three talented people and to be able to witness two well-attended and very interesting panel discussions on graphic novels and Trickster. Matt started off the weekend with a panel called, “Graphic Novels: Bridging Generations, Bridging Cultures. This panel featured a great discussion from four very different people involved in the graphic novel industry, and Matt did a wonderful job discussing the Trickster process.
Sunday’s events included a Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) coffee klatch in which Matt and Michael spoke with dozens of librarians in a sort of speed-dating setting, followed by an afternoon Trickster signing at the Fulcrum booth. Wow! People came out in droves (and the line kept growing!) to get a free copy of Trickster signed by Matt, Tim, and Michael. It was wonderful to see how enthusiastic people continue to be about Trickster, and how many lives have been touched by this beautiful anthology of Native American trickster tales.
Sunday concluded with a panel discussion specifically on Trickster. Once again, Matt, Tim, and Michael were on display, this time discussing their roles in the book and how the project unfolded, as well as the sensitivities involved in sharing tales from different Native American tribes. A lengthy Q&A session followed, along with another sizable book signing, which the panel attendees were very excited about.
And when the work was done at the end of the day, Carolyn and I made sure we headed to the French Quarter to sample the world-famous beignets at Cafe du Monde, which were as delicious as everyone says.
All in all, ALA was a successful conference and a fun weekend. We met dozens of wonderful people, and I enjoyed hearing all the positive feedback from librarians and publishers on many of Fulcrum’s titles.