Saturday, June 27, 2015

ALA Annual - First Full Day

I had a great first full day in San Francisco on Friday. It was quite full and very long as I awakened at 3AM (which was 6AM by my east coast body clock). I lounged around in my room reviewing the scheduler and writing yesterday's post. I had a 9:30 breakfast appointment at my hotel dining room but found the time to dash down to the convention center to pick up my registration materials and attempt to register for the Printz Reception (why I did not do that upon initial registration is beyond me. I've always gone). Sadly, it was closed but I did get a ticket to Sunday's YA Author Coffee Klatch. 

The walk to and from the convention center is doable. Maybe not-so-much with bags of books. It was a gorgeous, windy morning and I made it back to my hotel to finally meet, in person, the lovely and brilliant Stacey Barney. Every so often, an arc appears in my mailbox courtesy of Stacey and I know I'll be in for a treat. I had no idea how I popped up on her radar but am very grateful for the opportunities to read books like Leaving Gee's Bend and Golden Boy and The Secret Hum of a Daisy. We spent a lovely hour talking books and how our wending careers have happily converged. She also brought a bound manuscript of Sarah Dooley's newest middle grade novel, Free Verse. I enjoyed her debut novel, Livvie Owen Lived Here and see that I somehow missed her sophomore novel, Body of Water. Honestly, it is so hard to keep up!

After breakfast, the hotel concierge mapped directions to the Embarcadero and, while it was a beautiful day to walk there, I had some time constraints, so I grabbed an electric tram (What are they called?), which was standing room only. It dropped me at Pier 39. I waded through the crowds and made my way to the walkway by the bay, got a gorgeous view of Alcatraz Island, saw the sea lions and walked the bayside around the crescent that ended on a historic pier where a variety of fisherfolk fished and crabbed and I snagged some more pix of Alcatraz from a slightly different angle. Time did not allow for me to use my transfer for a return ride back to Market Street, so I sprung for a cab to the convention center. Man, traffic in San Francisco is murder!

I made it back slightly late for the start of a YALSA program called, Diversity Goggles, in which Dr. Kafi Kumasi urged participants to change the narrative and avoid damaging discourse, such as saying "cultural deficit" as opposed to "cultural capital." This was followed by Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, who said, that it is not the job of the kid to close the achievement gap. His job is to become literate. How do we do that? Not by teaching to the test.

The second half of the program consisted of a panel discussion about diversity between debut author, Adam Silvera, whose book, More Happy Than Not, sits on my summer tbr pile and Kekla Magoon, who has two books on my summer tbr, and Christopher Myers, who just gets better with every book and whose picture book, My Pen, is a 2015 favorite. This panel gelled in a nice way. I enjoyed both their prepared responses and the banter and conversations that sprung up. I honestly could've sat and listened for another hour. 

I spent the hour and a half between the end of that session and the opening of the exhibits chatting with a conference acquaintance, then strolled the exhibits with the hordes. I was mostly scoping out the lay of the land, but spied arcs of K. A. Holt's upcoming House Arrest and snagged it. I was disappointed to learn that there will be no arc distribution of Sheila Turnage's next Mo and Dale book, The Odds of Getting Even, but the rep gave me a sampler called Three by Three, which includes the first chapters of Odds, plus Switch by Ingrid Law and After Room by Maile Meloy, both of which I am eager to read. So that was a treat.

Over at the Simon & Schuster booth, they were giving out these cute totes, which required a coupon. Luckily, I had my Aisle by Aisle pamphlet and snagged one. Then, I nearly tripped over a stack of arcs, which was rather serendipitous as it was a stack of Stuart Gibbs' next Funjungle novel, Big Game! I adored Belly Up and reviewed Poached for SLJ, so this was a happy-making discovery!

I spotted Chris Lynch's Hit Count over at the Algonquin booth and near it, Trevor Ingerson, who sent an email after I reviewed Hit Count here. It is so nice to meet online acquaintances in person!

Finally, I joined my conference pal, Barb Langridge, of while she sat at the ALA booth and we made plans to trek to some events together today. I totally ran out of steam and opted to join the hordes heading for the shuttles and sat next to a middle school librarian from Nevada. Sure enough between the roundabout route and the traffic, I could've walked back to my hotel faster; but I was a bit weighed down and oh, so tired. The conversation was satisfying. I love how I can turn and talk to just about anyone here.

I ended my day back where I started it, at the hotel restaurant, where I had delicious fried calamari and a tasty cocktail. As tired as I was, sleep was long in coming, so I dipped into Big Game for a bit.

Today, brings new adventures. 

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