Sunday, July 21, 2013

ALA Chicago Highlights

I went to the American Library Association (ALA) Conference for the first time June 29-30th and it was a truly magical, amazing, and
overwhelming event. I could have spent a week just hanging out in the Exhibit Hall. I got to catch up with old friends like Esther Hershenhorn - author, Chicago resident, and fellow panelist at the IRA Conference in April of 2012.

I also got to meet one of my favorite writers of all time, Laurie Halse Anderson. She is as warm and wonderful as she is talented. Laurie is most well known for her riveting novel, Speak, a Printz Honor book which many of my students have read, but she's also written some wonderful historical novels. I picked up Chains, which won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. It was also a National Book Award Finalist. I also got the sequel, Forge. I'm looking forward to sharing both of these with my students this school year.

In addition to hanging out in the exhibit hall with authors, I attended the Coffee Klatch on Sunday morning. It's like Speed Dating with librarians. Thirty-eight authors, myself included, went from table to table speaking with young adult librarians about our books. Each table had about eight librarians and when the bell rang, the authors moved to a different table. It was exhausting and invigorating and I nearly lost my voice afterward, but so much fun!

The biggest highlight of the conference was getting to see Vaunda Micheaux Nelson at her book signing. Here she is with the Coretta Scott King Honor she received for No Crystal Stair. It's a documentary novel of the life and work of her uncle, Lewis Michaux, a Harlem bookseller in the tumultous 60s. Vaunda works as a librarian at the public library in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. It's the same city where I'm a speech-language pathologist. She and I led author panel discussions at both high schools last fall about book research. We also talked about our experiences at the YALSA SYMPOSIUM in St. Louis last November.

I'm already marking my calendar for ALA 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stories All Around Us - The International Folk Festival in Santa Fe

I visited the International Folk Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico this weekend (July 13-14). One-hundred and fifty artisans from over fifty countries converged on Museum Hill. There were textiles, jewelry, clothing, pottery and more.

The group above is Ihhashi Elimhlophe performing Zulu music from South Africa. They did enough gymnastics onstage to qualify for the Olympics. They were amazing. They're even on Facebook (though I can't seem to find them now:)

The man above is creating a yarn painting. He starts with a thin piece of ply board, covers it in beeswax, then uses a metal stylus to poke the yarn into the wood to create a variety of designs. Each one has a symbolic meaning. His son described the process and also told me about their tribe in Mexico. They pre-dated the Aztecs and were one of the last of the indigenous groups to hold out against the Spaniards.

Every piece of art at the entire festival held a story. so did the fascinating people who created it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

REBEL SPIRITS at Gettysburg

Author Lois Ruby celebrated the release of her latest ghost story, REBEL SPIRITS, on July 3 at Alamosa Books. If you live in or near Albuquerque and you have not visited Alamosa, get yourself on over there. It is the only independent bookstore in town focusing primarily on children's literature. Alamosa is located at 8810 Holly Ave. Suite D (Next to Bahama Bucks). If they don't have the book  you want, they will order it and teacher's get a 20% discount!!

 July 3 was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Lois even brought a woman civil war re-enactor. Over 500 women and girls served in the Civil War disguised as young men. There was a great slide show and treats - including hard tack that Lois made herself, but we were all warned not to try it without soaking it first - or else we might break a tooth. Good luck on your new book, Lois!!