Part II, in which the pictures get more sparse.

4:00 p.m. – Head to Feiwel & Friends gathering downtown. Walking in, I had one of those “I’m not sure what to expect” moments. Thankfully, there were a bunch of great people in the house.


4:23 -Hey, it’s Susan from Wizard’s Wireless and now PBS Booklights. You ever have it where you sort of know someone, you’re Facebook friends with them, but you’ve never really met? That’s how it was with Susan and I. Great to meet her. Absolutely enthusiastic about all things children’s lit.

4:30 – Newbery discussion. The top two books talked about? The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and When You Reach Me. Is it safe to guarantee hardware for both of these titles at this early date? I’m gonna go ahead and do it.


4:46 -Author (and Planet Esme blogger) Esmé Raji Codell arrives with Belpre award-winning illustrator Yuyi Morales. The meet and greets just don’t stop. Esmé was great to talk to and as nice as could be. We chatted about her children’s lit salon, which is completely great.

5:00 – Okay, I have somewhere to be soon. I told myself I would leave here by five. Enjoying things too much. I’ll stay.

5:10 – Catch up again with Mighty Casey Illustrator Matthew Cordell. Still no cupcakes, but I’m not going to hold it against the man. His latest book Trouble Gum was on display at the gathering, along with this oh-so-appropriate bit of advertising:


That’s a box of trouble gum y’all.

5:20 – I meet author/illustrator Karen Romano Young, who has an illustrated novel coming out in 2010 called Doodlebug. Fans of the Amelia’s Notebook series and Ellie McDoodle, take notice.


5:30 – Alright, I’ve really got to go. I say a couple goodbyes and catch a cab back to the hotel to get spruced up for the next event – Random House dinner.


6:30 – Invited by friends/mentors/librarians/Bookends bloggers Lynn and Cindy (thanks guys!), my wife and I have to chance to hobnob over dinner with some children’s lit heavyweights.

6:45 – Meet Lane Smith. He shows me the Michigan hand signal (which he picked up from Jon Scieszka). I’m enjoying this.

6:50 – Dang, there’s Judy Blume. Am I really here right now?

6:55 – Dinner begins. I’m at the table with Candace Fleming, whom I met earlier in the day. Lesson learned: it pays to introduce yourself. F.Y.I. – Candace is a wonderful person to have sitting at your dinner table. Fun was had.

7:00 – My wife is sitting at a table with Deborah Hopkinson, author of the *Best New Book* Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek. I find myself wishing I had brought my hand-made stovepipe hat.


7:30 – I’m challenged to recite the Gettysburg Address. I don’t do so good.

8:00 – I learn from Candace Fleming that there were five versions of the Gettysburg Address. I don’t feel quite as bad now.

8:10 – The food is good. A little salmon, a little beef.

9:00 – Almost time to go. Not sure how it happened, but before I know it, my wife and I are talking to Judy Blume. Dang. My summer/aught nine has been made.

10:00 – Back at the hotel. Realizing I didn’t touch the computer all day, yet carried it for hours. Make a mental note to not do that again.

11:00 – Time to go to sleep. I have another 8:00 a.m. session in the morning (AASL Top 25 Websites). An outstanding day.

ALA Annual 2009 – a rousing success. Midwinter is in Boston, eh? I wonder how cheaply I can swing that trip.