ALA Mid-Winter 2008 Recap: Extra Curricular Activities
There were many good things about the conference (particularly near the end) but if I were to single out a personal highlight it would have to be getting to meet Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.
About a month ago Janna Morishima, the Director of Diamond Kids Group, wondered if I might be interested in helping conduct a Q&A with Mr. Spiegelman and Ms. Mouly during the conference in Philly. Francoise, current Art Editor of The New Yorker, is the Editorial Director of TOON Books, a division of RAW Junior. Mr. Spiegelman (creator of Maus, amongst other things) is the Series Advisor.
When someone asks you to hang out with illustrious folk, you say yes, and you say thank you.
So here’s a delightful picture of me freaking out by freezing my face. This happens when I get near people who win Pulitzers n’ are Directors n’ stuff.
I only look like I’m smiling. Inside I’m thinking something along the lines of OMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD I’M IN-BETWEEN AMAZING PEOPLE!
Very nice famous people too. Michele Gorman did the introduction. She is the author of Getting Graphic! Comics for Kids and I think I need to get my hands on that book. She spoke for 10 minutes or so and then introduced me. This required me standing on a chair. Here then is a lovely picture of me pitching to one side as Francoise and Art do everything in their power to keep me from careening towards an ignominious demise.
I love the bored woman in the background.
The room was packed but I was still worried that no one would ask any questions. To keep the ball rolling I began with one. If I had been worried that the two would fail to offer in-depth answers, I needn’t have. Both were eloquent and excellent. I recorded the whole thing for posterity which I shall post to my podcast when I get the chance. Two other people asked questions, and the whole thing wrapped up after that.
I discussed with Mr. Spiegelman the fact that as of right now ALSC doesn’t have a proper award for graphic novels or illustrated books. He replied that if such an award was named, it should be The Walt Kelly Medal. I like that. A day or so later someone else told me that it should be called The Spiegelman, but as he is not dead and is a rather self-deprecating fellow, I think "Kelly" will do just fine.
There were other parties as well, but this one will remain my favorite.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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