Photos: Two Days of ALA (Part 1)
What just happened?
I’m back in Michigan after a wonderful and speedy trip to Orlando for the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. Quick, yes, but I still managed to take a few photos along the way. For more ALA Annual-ness, check out these posts:
If 666 is the sign of the beast, 333 is the sign of something half as evil – a devilishly early wake up call. Here was the plan: pick up Colby Sharp in basically the middle of the night, get to Florida by any means necessary, interview some folks for The Yarn, absorb all that ALA had to offer, get the H out of Dodge before the rooster crows on Monday.
Obligatory plane wing shot. This was taken over Georgia.
We made it! Flowers look like this in Orlando.
Lunch looks like this in an Orlando convention center. Our first stop upon arrival: food. The potato salad pictured above was actually very good. Based on how appetizing I can make food look in photos (Exhibit A: Above), I’m considering a second career as one of those people on Instagram who take pictures of all their food.
We were able to convince and trick our way into getting a dedicated Yarn recording room just off the exhibit floor (shout-out Jason Wells). Colby Sharp (pictured above) and I immediately began to get big heads and refer to this cubicle as “Yarn HQ”.
Saturday brought the announcement of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. As a school librarian, this is always a list I look forward to and share with others in my district. I’ll be putting some of the sites through their paces for a possible fall debut in our library. Click here for the list.
It was time to get over to the PopTop stage for our interview with Kate DiCamillo for The Yarn. I realized just beforehand that with all our talk of LIVE, some folks thought it would be broadcast live on the internet. Alas, it was not. But there will be an episode from the event coming in the pretty-near future (August). Click here to subscribe to The Yarn.
Okay, so, interviewing a well known author in front of a crowd – how’d it go? I would say well to quite well. Kate DiCamillo was fantastic, carefully shepherding our poor interviewer souls to success on the strength of her wisdom and life-giving laugh.
We talked about her latest book. We talked about my poor hugging skills (I’m working on it), we talked about Spicy Cheetos, Kate gave my family pet a middle name, Colby read a Kate DiCamillo-themed excerpt from my diary. Okay – I’m upgrading my previous assessment: quite well to wonderful. If you weren’t there, we can’t wait to share the episode with you.
The height discrepancy between Kate DiCamillo and I being what it is, we are incapable of appearing in the same photograph together unless I am doing something odd, such as kneeling. Although I like to imagine we’re all standing on a tiny set of stairs.
Alright, let’s think about this for a minute – aside from movie characters and professional athletes, how many people on the planet have their own cardboard cutout? Our pal John Schumacher (@MrSchuReads) is now among the chosen. John works for Scholastic Bookfairs and this cutout was part of a contest to have him visit the school of the winner. I had a plan for the weekend:
See it while you can, people! https://t.co/Bza5ZaSK1O
— Travis Jonker (@100scopenotes) June 23, 2016
(the plan was to steal the Mr. Schu cutout.)
I did a quick swing through the exhibits: a few books that caught my eye:
In School Library Journal a little while back, Betsy Bird noticed that there were more books about death coming out these days. After reading that, I have to agree – including this one, possibly the most honest yet.
I mentioned this book back in my 2016 Books from Caldecott Winners post. Before I wrote that post, I had no idea there was a sequel in to Niño Wrestles the World in he works. And here it is.
I saw this one in the publisher catalog a couple weeks back and it just really speaks to the introvert in me (and perhaps you too).
I love when I come upon a book by a creator I like that I had no idea about. That’s the case here with Elise Gravel and her upcoming TOON Book. This might be the best depiction of arm hair in children’s literature history.
What was next? Colby interviewed Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall over at The Yarn HQ (it’s just fun to say, folks). She’s signing a book that we’ll give away when the episode runs.
You know what I’m great at? Not taking pictures of important events. Especially when authors/illustrators are involved. For every image that shows up in posts like these, I have ten that I didn’t take. For a nosy blogger, I have this pesky “respect for others’ privacy” that keeps me from snapping way more photos than I do. I say this because at this point in the day I went and interviewed Mo Willems for a future episode of The Yarn. It was a pretty big thing for me. Big thing. The focus of the talk was Elephant & Piggie, but we hit on a bunch of stuff – spotting a rare white ibis in the wilds of Florida, how improv can help a writer more than you might expect, and how Mr. Willems sometimes has ideas so bad they end up good. While I have no visual record, the audio survived. It was a great way to end the day.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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