During my three days at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim this past weekend, I averaged four hours of sleep per night. So if you find any grammatical errors in this post, here's what you should do...
Get. Over. It.
On Friday night, Penguin Young Readers held a fancy schmancy dinner for librarians, educators, and award committee members. At each table sat an author. One at a time, each author spoke about his or her latest book. I happened to bring up the fact...a few times...that I work at a library, which had the same effect as a neon Applause sign hanging over my head. (So that was nice.) Afterwards, a bunch of Penguins marched to a nightspot to continue the chit-chatting, including Ingrid Law, Jon Scieszka, Jacqueline Woodson, John Green, and myself.
The next morning, I headed out to the exhibition room and stood in the presence of as many famous authors as I could. The biggie for me was Laurie Halse Anderson. And when her hand touched my chest while posing for a photo, I swear I felt some superauthor force pass into me.
That afternoon, Feiwel & Friends hosted a bunch o' bloggers in a suite (sweet!), where I got to hang out with the bloggers behind Fuse #8, Jen Robinson's Book Page, and GottaBook.
That night...Disneyland! Followed by IHOP shenanigans and a brief visit to my bed.
Early the next morning, it was time for speed-dating with children's authors! A whole bunch of us marched into a room where about 30 tables were stocked with around eight librarians each. I began my journey (totally by coincidence) at table 13. I talked about my book, answered questions, then moved to a new table whenever the whistle blew. So fun! Afterwards, all of the authors gathered for a group photo. What you can't see is the wall of camera-packin' librarians in front of us.
From there, I went to my first of two autographing sessions. And let me take this moment to say that the behind-the-scenes Penguins who made my first ALA experience so wonderful are some of the coolest (and cutest!) people in the biz. [I know Robin and Eve are gonna tell me to take down the "cutest!" comment, but it's true...and I'm tired, so No.]
And Terry Trueman stopped by. Terry! Trueman!
I don't have any photos from the Best Books for Young Adults pizza party, but John Green, Nancy Werlin, Steve Kluger, and I joined a bunch of teens for hotdogs and hamburgers. (Just kidding! It was pizza. But I'm really tired, so you have to forgive the lame joke.)
When I first walked in, a group of four girls walked up to me and were kind of shy. Eventually, one of them found the courage to say, "I just wanted you to know that I loved Looking for Alaska." And then her friends started busting up and told her that I wasn't John Green. (But don't feel bad for me...she liked my book, too!) Unfortunately for John Green, I pointed him out to the girls and we played a little prank on him. They told him they were big fans of his...and that they loved Thirteen Reasons Why.
Then I signed books for another hour at the Baker & Taylor booth...with Lisa Loeb!!! No, seriously! Look!!!
Near the end, I had a wonderful discussion with my publisher, Ben Schrank, outside of the exhibition area. Over my fourth- or fifth-cup of coffee of the day, we talked about the future of Thirteen Reasons Why and my future dreams as an author. We talked about taking chances. And we talked about... Forget it, I'm tired, and I still have two pictures to go.
No ALA is complete without a little competition between gangs of librarians. Have you ever seen your neighborhood librarians perform a choreographed dance with bookcarts to the music of Weird Science or Thriller? It's truly one of the weirdest things you'll ever see in your life...