Instagramming ALA 2023 (Part I)
I’m back from the 2023 American Library Association Annual Conference and I have the pictures to prove it.
When it comes to packing for this conference, I am the opposite of the Boy Scouts. I am never prepared. I bring exactly enough clothes to get me through the weekend and nothing else. If it rains, I’m done for. If it gets cold, I’m going to be shivering. Basically if the weather is anything other than perfect, I’m going to be in trouble. Thankfully, most of the time is spent in a climate controlled conference center, so it usually works out.
Since I live in Michigan and the conference was in Chicago, it’s a pretty easy trip. I drive down to the train and take that into the city. Train travel is like airplane travel, except relaxing, calm, and a little more spacious. Okay so completely different I guess.
Ohh! One of my duties while at the conference would be to interview Kate DiCamillo about the 20th anniversary of The Tale of Despereaux. But there was a surprise announcement – Kate has a new middle grade novel coming next year called Ferris. I finished reading it on the train and it’s fantastic. And I’m not just saying that. I LOLed, I cried – it’s a beautiful book.
Made it to the Chicago train station. The weather was perfect, which really helped validate my packing decisions.
View from the hotel. Yeah, sorry I’m “Show a picture of my hotel view” guy right now. Moving on . . .
I roomed with John Schu, so I got an up close pic of these incredible hand-painted Nikes celebrating his picture books This Is a School and This Is a Story.
I was time to head to the exhibits. Okay, big moment for me here. I got a chance to see the finished copy of my upcoming picture book, Just One Flake, for the first time. It really turned out great and I’m even more excited for you to see it when it comes out on October 10th (you can preorder the book here).
I signed copies of Just One Flake . . .
People came! Thank you to everyone who stopped by.
Next up was that interview I was talking about earlier . . .
I talked with Kate DiCamillo on the PopTop Stage about The Tale of Despereaux turning 20. At the end of the session, we were joined by Kate’s longtime editor Andrea Tompa to discuss Ferris (her just-announced middle grade novel coming in 2024).
The whole thing was truly a blast, and I recorded the conversation for an upcoming episode of The Yarn podcast.
Quick book sighting! I’ve really been looking forward to reading this book coming in the fall from Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. It’s as good as I hoped.
After the book signing and the DiCamillo interview it was time for a Sad Pizza Lunch! Conference center food at its finest, friends. Notice how I made it 3% fancier by going with the sparkling water, and how I made it 3% more healthy by adding in that banana.
But is just the beginning! Click here for Instagramming ALA 2023 (Part II)
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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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