100 Scope Notes
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ALA Annual 2012: Photo Journal

I’m back in Michigan, and back to exclusively eating foods shaped like my home state…

…but let’s take a look back at the weekend that was in ALA Annual 2012 what-have-yous.

Preparing for the trip to Anaheim, a minor packing miracle occurred. I was able to get everything in one bag. So long as it didn’t rain, wasn’t extremely hot, wasn’t extremely cold, and nothing unexpected happened whatsoever, I was completely prepared.

Out of necessity, I only brought one book to read (see bag above), the graphic novel Cardboard. It’s a wild one, folks.

If you know anything about being from anywhere other than California, you know that it is required to take photos of palm trees when you arrive in the state. It’s the rule and I followed it.

Badge in hand, it was time for the conference to begin. I pull the “put the business card in the badge holder” move.

One of the fun things about ALA Annual is all the authors and illustrators that come out for the event. Here’s Jon Klassen (he of I Want My Hat Back) talking about his book at the Candlewick Press dinner.

Me…Jane creator Patrick McDonnell at the Little, Brown breakfast.

And here’s David McPhail at the Little, Brown breakfast.

Speaking of Mr. McPhail, at the breakfast he pulled out what looked like a deck of cards. Every day he paints a little picture on paper the same dimensions as a playing card. He carries them around in a stack in his pocket, wrapped in a rubber band. At the breakfast he passed the deck around and let the attendees keep one. Taking home a David McPhail original was a highlight among highlights for me. Now I just need to find a very tiny frame. I wonder if the sets for The Fantastic Mr. Fox animated film have been thrown out yet.

There was also original artwork on display, like this from Naoko Stoop’s Red Knit Cap Girl. If you look closely, you can see that it’s painted on plywood.

Original art for Patrick McDonnell’s new book, The Monsters’ Monster.

Artwork for David McPhail’s latest, All the Awake Animals.

Then it was time to head to the exhibits, where I promptly ran into this election season parody of Mo Willems’s Pigeon books.

Author Lisa Yee was in attendance and snapped this photo of me with her famous peep. Lisa has a great roundup of ALA photos at her blog for you to peruse.

Then I saw this. Holy cow. Henry Cole has a wordless picture book coming out in November that contains some of the more goosebump-inducing art I’ve seen this year.

After Dan Santat’s explosion of books last year (including the graphic novel Sidekicks), folks were left scrambling to figure out which prolific illustrator would be crowned “The Dan Santat of 2012”. While Matthew Cordell is in the running, it may be that Dan Santat is the Dan Santat of 2012 – the man has somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 books coming out that he illustrated or did the cover for. (Photo courtesy School Library Journal, ALA 2012).

Winning the award for oddest swag is this mini bar of soap for the upcoming Lemony Snicket series All the Wrong Questions.

This is what happens when someone holding a camera tells me to “act natural”. Apparently, for me, “act natural” means “act like a magician who just performed a trick while looking straight at the camera”. Clearly, illustrator Erin E. Stead (left) is much more skilled than I. (Photo courtesy School Library Journal, ALA 2012).

I have amassed a small collection of the stuff Tom Angleberger has given out to promote his books The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back and was curious what tricks they would pull out this year. Here’s the answer – Fortune Wookie cookies. Mine didn’t make it off the exhibit floor unscathed.

While we’re on the topic of Tom Angleberger, here he is at the Amulet lunch talking about his book Fake Mustache.

N.E.R.D.S. author Michael Buckley was also in attendance, but all I have to show for it is this picture of his sandwich. Looks pretty good, though. Couple of grapes too I see.

Nathan Hale got into character in discussing his new historical fiction graphic novel series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. Yes, he is in full Revolutionary War era costume.

Somehow I even got in on the book talking action when Matthew Cordell needed a volunteer to introduce his book, Bat and Rat, via puppet show. Can’t say that’s happened before.

There was even an encore performance on the exhibits floor. Horn Book editor (and Read Roger blogger) Roger Sutton passed by as it was going on – I look forward to his review of the show in the next issue.

There was also learnifying going on at ALA. I attended some great sessions (including the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning), and presented at one called There’s an App for That: Using Technology to Enhance Children’s Librarianship. If you want to see our slides from the session, click here. Here I am with Darien Public librarian Gretchen Caserotti and The World’s Most Famous Male Elementary School Librarian (that has to be true, right?) John Schumacher, aka @MrSchuReads. We also presented with the wonderful Amy Graves. (Photo courtesy School Library Journal, ALA 2012).

The session was a lot of fun. People showed up, which is a plus. (Photos courtesy School Library Journal, ALA 2012, Part Two).

Sunday night was the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, where the award winners pick up their medals and, in the case of the big winners (Jack Gantos and Chris Raschka), give speeches. The program was incredible. Created with Chris Raschka’s artwork, it moved into unheard-of three dimensional territory in referencing his book A Ball for Daisy. Take a look:

Betsy Bird of A Fuse #8 Production was in the building. As is her custom, she did something special to celebrate the winning book. This year we have shrinky dinks attached to a fuse necklace. That was one of the weirder sentences I’ve written. I’d estimate Mrs. Bird was the most photographed person of the night, after the award winners. That’s some necklace.

Here I am again with John Schumacher, pre-banquet. (Photo courtesy School Library Journal, SLJ Goes to the 2012 Newbery Caldecott Awards).

I wasn’t able to get a good shots of the Newbery honorees, but the Caldecott honors were right in my line of sight…

Patrick McDonnell

John Rocco

Lane Smith

Then it was time for Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka to speak. He was smart and heartfelt.

Then Jack Gantos hit the stage and brought the house down. Funny, quirky, and completely original, it has to be one of the wildest Newbery speeches ever.

What’s the best way to cap off an evening so grand? A late night Moons Over My Hammy™ sandwich from Denny’s. (Note: Photo does no justice to how delicious this sandwich was)

All that was left was to get out of town. After checking out the Dr. Seuss and Fancy Nancy-heavy children’s section of the LAX airport, I was headed home.

A wonderful ALA 2012.

If you’re not done reminiscing, be sure to check out these ALA 2012 recaps (and let me know if you have one you’d like me to add):

George’s Favorite Tooth:

ALA 2012: Day One

A Fuse #8 Production:

Just Call Me Guy Incognito: ALA Annual Conference 2012 (Day One)

A Taste of the Floor (ew!): ALA Annual Conference 2012 (Day Two)

Newbery/Caldecott Banquet Tips and Tricks: ALA Annual Conference 2012

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Sam Bloom says:

    Nice recap! I’m really sorry I didn’t get my hands on one of those Wookie Cookies.

  2. Jealous of the Wookie Cookie (and everything else)! Thanks for sharing your awesome photos.

  3. Great photos! Thanks for sharing them.
    Melissa (Sweet) was there signing and accepting the Sibert Award . . . did you cross paths with her? Balloons Over Broadway is an amazing book . . . Enjoy your Michigan-shaped foods:)

    • Unfortunately, I didn’t cross paths with Melissa Sweet. I agree that Balloons Over Broadway is excellent – glad to see it got some award love.

  4. Original art? Fabulous! And Dennys? Inspired.

    It was great seeing you. I am coming away from ALA with some great ideas for school, thanks in part to you and your co-presenters!

  5. Thanks for the photo! It really captures exactly how HOT I was in that suit at the outdoor lunch.

    I had more than a few of those Angleberger Wookiee-Cookies. They were pretty crumbly. If someone made it out of the convention center with an unbroken one, they should frame it.

  6. Thanks for your awesome photo recap, Travis! (and, again, for rocking the Rat hand puppet for me) Now… who’s got a book cover I can illustrate? Quick!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing Travis… I was sad to have to miss it and your recap and the others almost make up for it! Look forward to being there with you next year!

  8. WOW! Art from David McPhail, meeting Dan Santat, a puppet show with Matthew Cordell and Henry Cole’s new book, and an ARC of Doug Ten Napel’s new book, to name a few. Fantastic recap. Thanks so much for sharing! Wish I was there.

  9. Great rundown! Thanks for sharing! My favorite is the “act natural” picture. We have a whole series of those in our family, because my mom’s favorite direction to my sister and me has always been, “Ok, look like you’re talking!” We have holiday, birthday, vacation, and wedding shots like that, and I’ve even convinced a celebrity or two to pose like that with me. You did very well! The trick is to look like NO ONE has ever looked or will ever look while talking: arms akimbo, mouths in weird shapes, eyebrows fully engaged.

  10. Great fun reading your recap, Travis. BTW, happy belated birthday. I also enjoyed your workshop. Next time, include middle school apps!

    John Rocco rocked those plaid pants didn’t he?

  11. My Wookiee Cookie didn’t just break – it disappeared entirely! I put it in my pocketbook, and when I looked for it on the plane home… it was gone!

    I am working some of my ALA highlights into a series of posts full of video reviews by Milo and Ezra, because I just have no time to read!

    Great to see you Travis!

  12. !!! (in case there were not enough exclamation points in my comment)