I’m sure I’ll get better at this.

I have to admit it – I’m a pretty poor book signee. Friday I had the opportunity to meet three tops children’s book author/illustrators, and I don’t have many good stories to tell. I’m still perplexed with the etiquette at these events. I wasn’t sure if it was okay to have more than one book signed, or if I should ask for pictures, so I just went ahead and did it. Here’s how the day went:

After school, with books in tow, I beelined to the outstanding (and almost local) Pooh’s Corner children’s book store. There I met Jon J. Muth (of “Zen Shorts” fame) and Mordicai Gerstein (“The Man Who Walked Between the Towers“). Both books are regulars in my “picture books for upper elementary” recommendations, so I was about to lose a shoe over seeing them live. Both were nice enough to sign personalized copies of their books for the libraries where I work. Here’s a picture with Mordicai Gerstein and I:

Mordicai and I

Is it lame to hold the book up? You gotta help me out on these things.

After that I rolled over to Calvin College where Kadir Nelson was doing his John Hancock thing. The setting for that was very cool. He was signing in the middle of a gallery where original artwork from his books was being displayed. There were even some works from his latest “We Are the Ship” (which you definitely need to pick up if you haven’t – outstanding). I knew going in that most of the originals for that book were large (click here to listen to Mr. Nelson interviewed on NPR), but they were impressive in person. An amazingly talented guy. While sitting in a gallery showing my art as I was signing copies of my latest critically-acclaimed book would have given me a really big head, Mr. Nelson was a very nice guy and gracious enough to pose for a picture:

Mr. Nelson and Me

There I go again with the book.

My only regret was not testing out my “Year of Kadir” catch phrase on him to see what he thought. Here’s how I’m guessing that exchange would have gone:

Me: Hey, it’s the “Year of Kadir”!

(suddenly the sound of crickets chirping is noticeable, despite being indoors)

Me: (under my breath) Well, it is.

A great day.