Conference Mania: What I Saw and How I Lied (in wait for the conference floor to open)
You know, I’ve learned something at ALA this year. A little something about the conference floor. Here’s the thing… when you’re at an ALA Conference and you want to go to the conference floor, it may surprise you to learn that the floor isn’t open until Saturday morning. The conference begins on Thursday or so, but the floor is closed until then. "Sacre bleu", says you, "what a scandal!" Here’s what I did not know though . . . they open it up on Friday night. Yup. Friday at 5:30 I was present and accounted for as the masses patiently waited to enter the floor and reap the goodies. And since my Saturday was going to be too busy to do otherwise I knew I’d really only have two day to leap upon the floor, galley-grabbing-wise.
Now here’s where it all gets kooky. The publishers on the floor are aware that this is a special occasion. They haven’t grown exhausted yet, so they’re still all perky and excited and enthusiastic. Talk to them Monday and they don’t feel so good. But Friday night it was all smiles and swag. They’re no fools, though. Knowing perfectly well that the librarian vultures would descend upon them in even greater masses the next day, they hide some of the galleys in their booths until the madness passes.
For this particular day, we turn our attention to the books and goodies on display throughout the convention floor. In brief . . .
Coming down the elevator one was met by a great hoard of folks, all ready to pounce as one.
And inside, a veritable swath of champagne glasses were all waiting to be filled.
The pubs had been preparing for this all day, so you had competing architectural displays of books (at least until attendees pulled them apart in their abject greed):
Creativity is by no means relegated solely to the realm of how well you can put one book on top of another, though. There were displays created with elegant, entrancing frames, for one.
Great display models for t-shirts on the other.
Whatever happened to the t-shirts that read, "What happens in storytime stays in storytime"? Aw. Those were always my favorites.
And then, the bragging rights. How many stars can you place popping out of the top of one single book at a time?
Let us not forget that there were also goodies. The books I had heard of, hadn’t heard of, or wanted in some way. Sometimes you only get to see them at a conference. Here then are a couple that I have desired.
First off, new Bone book anyone?
Failing that, how about a Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks) / Matt Phelan (The Storm in the Barn) pairing in Flora’s Very Windy Day?
There’s a new Jimi Hendrix biography in the works (love the iridescent title):
And here you can see John Mason showing off an ARC of Pam Munoz Ryan’s magnificent book The Dreamer, illustrated by Peter Sis.
Karen Cushman has a new book out (love the Fly By Night-ish cover here):
The graphic novels of First Second exist in a little part of my soul that screams "waaaant" all the darn day long.
And I may have alluded to the fact that Macmillan is reprinting the Moomin books in some fashion soon (I predict Finnish literature to be Gi-Gan-Tic in 2010… and no I’m not kidding about this). This was just one such example of the titles on the way.
And this is just the newest in the series by Simon Basher coming out with Kingfisher.
I was pleased to see that Natalie Babbitt’s books are continuing to get all new covers, thanks to Squarefish.
Another book I want? Kid vs. Squid. The premise as I was given to understand it: The denizens of Atlantis have been cursed to sometimes work as carnies on the land. Love it.
It will please my children’s bookgroup considerably when I show them that I got my hands on a copy of the all new Calamity Jack (sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge).
And Kane/Miller is really pushing this Conspiracy 365 (one of their first forays into YA fiction) this year as well.
This biography Dave the Potter: Slave, Poet, Artist by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier is (and I may have mentioned this before) perhaps the most beautiful book Collier has ever done. It looks gorgeous.
I think I’m right when I say that this book Princesses is a Sterling title. At the time, they only had the French edition to display. Whatta beauty, though. Check it out:
Groundwood Books had two titles that looked more than a little interesting to me . . .
And I’ve always been a very big fan of small press like Simply Read Books. They’ve two books that look particularly interesting. I missed my chance to review The Kalevala since it came out in 2009 . . . .
But I still have a chance to do something with what is undoubtedly the strangest board book of 2010. I kid you not . . . this is deserving of a review.
Melanie Watt, the breakout star of Kids Can Press, has a new one out too. How are you gonna resist the charms of something that looks as appealing as Have I Got a Book For You?
On the swag side of things, there was really only one that spoke to me. Angus Killick at Kingfisher told me that he had in his possession the world’s sexiest periodic table. I’d argue but . . . he’s right.
Finally, just as I didn’t know that you could get onto the conference floor on a Friday evening, I also didn’t know that authors don’t typically do signing at ALA Midwinter conferences. There are, of course, notable exceptions. For reasons unclear to me, a long line was blocking access to the Little, Brown & Co. booth, and I couldn’t figure out why. This is the clearest shot I was able to get of the perpetrator.
If you have remarkably good eyesight you may be able to tell that that is Julie of the book/movie Julie & Julia. Yup. She was there. Otherwise, aside from the occasional talking robot and barbershop quartet, not much in the way of entertainment.
More soon! I’m working on a video or two, but we’ll see how fast my flying fingers are actually able to put it together.
Filed under: Uncategorized
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.
SLJ Blog Network