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Camera Tricks: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part I)


Raising a Lone Eyebrow: ALA Annual 2015 Recap (Part II)

I just returned from the American Library Association Annual Conference and boy are my arms…


Can’t do it. There shall be no corny jokes here, my friends¹. The conference was too wonderful. Too meaningful. Let’s start at the start…

¹Rule applies to the first sentence of this post only.


It’s become a tradition now that I brag about how little I pack for conferences:


While it’s true that I did only bring this backpack, I have some secrets.

How to Make a Bag Appear Smaller Than It Is

  1. I place the bag directly facing the camera. You can’t see how deep it is.
  2. I put the bag on an oversized chair – a “make stuff look smaller” classic.
  3. I employ the “tilt shift” settings on Instagram, which is known to make things appear miniature.

To the airport. They let people use phones during takeoff now, so I was able to capture this:

Sky pic:


This is probably not San Francisco – I just saw lights and got excited:


After landing, I checked out the airport for a minute. Here is how I will sum up the difference between my familiar midwestern airports and the San Francisco airport:


Midwestern airport: Burger King

San Francisco airport: Vino Volo

Books on Display in Airport Bookstore

Midwestern airport:


San Francisco airport:


They clearly know what they’re doing around here. Zooming out…


Dang, even some Press Here read alikes. Not to mention squirrels (in your choice of brown or gray). Also: the most Instagrammed book of 2015.

And with that, I hit the hay.


Next time I have an important early morning meeting to attend (let’s pretend that happens sometimes), I’m going to demand that the meeting take place on the west coast. Why? I discovered that I was up and at ’em at the crack of dawn in San Francisco, after moving from Eastern time to Pacific time.

“But we live in Michigan”, the imaginary person who wants to have an important early morning meeting says.

“I understand”, I say. “But we’re going to have to meet in San Francisco. Otherwise, I probably won’t be able to make it.”

“Meeting cancelled.”

But I digress. Here’s the view from the hotel. We were up on top of a hill, so it was a good one.


First on the agenda was the ALSC Preconference. The title was Distinguished and Diverse: Celebrate the 2015 ALSC Honor Books, and it was a good day. Just about everyone who received an honor at the Youth Media Awards was there. KT Horning gave a keynote about the history of the ALSC honors. There were panel discussions, one of which I moderated:


It was the first time I’ve ever moderated anything, a fact a wisely didn’t share with my panel beforehand. They did a nice job. A few of the many things I learned during the discussion:

  • Juan Felipe Herrera (the brand-new Poet Laureate of the US) looked for the “poem in each person” when writing Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes.
  • Katherine Roy has not been in a shark cage, but would do it.
  • Melissa Sweet has a drawer in her studio labeled “Nests”.
  • Candace Fleming doesn’t start out trying to tell a particular story in her books, she tries to learn everything about her subject first and then see what stories arise.

There was a picture book panel where we saw (among other greats), Lauren Castillo talk about Nana in the City:


And Jon Klassen talk about Sam & Dave Dig a Hole.


A excellent half day of fun and learning.

What did the rest of the conference hold? Come back tomorrow for Part II.

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. Thanks as always for representing the Midwest (and even better, Michigan!) so well. Love the SF airport bookstore’s children’s selection too!

  2. Sounds like so much fun! I was sad to miss it this year. I aspire to your packing prowess…but you know…the shoes!!!