ALA Annual Conference 2021

#Newbery and #Caldecott Virtual Banquet at #alaac2021

Usually, on this night, I am dressed up and sitting with a group of librarians to celebrate the #Newbery and #Caldecott Awards. This year, I still wanted it to be special. So, I treated my family to Yogurtland. I wore my “This Is How I Roll” t- shirt featuring a book truck. And, I got to visit the homes of amazingly talented authors and illustrators and listen to their inspiring words from my living room. I loved every minute of it. I encourage you to watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPOrSDaxsaE There are so many favorite moments, but a few highlights… In her Caldecott acceptance speech, illustrator Michaela Goade was truly an inspiration as the first indigenous/BIPOC woman to win a Caldecott. I want to listen to her speech over and over from her beautiful description of her home in Alaska to her discussion of her illustrations for “We Are Water Protectors”…

ALA Annual Conference 2021

Amanda Gorman and Loren Long @ #ALA Annual Conference 2021

On Wednesday morning, #ALA Annual Conference 2021 began with an amazing opening speaker session with Amanda Gorman and Loren Long. They were interviewed by “rock star” (to quote Gorman) Carla Hayden. Really, all three of these speakers are ROCK STARS! Gorman introduced us to her new book, CHANGE SINGS, which will be available in the fall. She has been working on the poem for over 3.5 years and wanted it to come out as close after the Inauguration as possible (before she even knew that she would be the Inaugural Poet). Gorman and Long discussed the transformation of her poem into a children’s book. As Gorman explained, poems are “divisible by units of sound, and children’s books are divisible by units of scene.” In thinking about turning the poem into a book, she had to think about “page turns,” and she wanted to give the huge topic of CHANGE texture,…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Every Word a Poem with Sophia Thakur at #ALAVirtual20

I will admit that I was not familiar with poet and storyteller Sophia Thakur before her featured presentation at #ALAVirtual20. Several minutes into it, my family could find me crying in the kitchen at her beautiful and inspiring words. (Shedding tears of joy/inspiration/amazement is a common occurrence for me at ALA, and now my family gets to witness this during the virtual conference). Thakur is a “performance poet” from the United Kingdom. Throughout her presentation, she recited some of her poems, but EVERYTHING she said was itself a poem. I am hoping for a transcript because I was desperately trying to write down every word that she said. She epitomized her statement that “Poetry is in the gap between art and conversation.” She talked about literacy and empathy. She encouraged people to tell their own stories because literacy is a tool to explore the self. Reading empowers through windows, mirrors,…

ALA Virtual Conference 2020

Welcome to #ALAVirtual20

Welcome to #ALAVirtual20! I had been looking forward to my first visit to Chicago and the home of #ALA, but I am still excited to spend the next few days immersed in everything LIBRARY! I started my conference with an ALA Happy Hour via Zoom. Mixologist Andres Arias showed us all how to make Palomas. The Paloma, one of the best-selling cocktails in Mexico, was first created in Mexico and is similar to a margarita. With drinks in hand, we then broke into small groups to meet each other and discuss our favorite drinks, Chicago, and, inevitably, Covid19.  We were then challenged to some trivia about Chicago, home of 5 major league sports teams in addition to some amazing libraries! While I knew Chicago was famous for its deep dish pizza, I learned that brownies originated in Chicago (at the Palmer House) and about Holy Cow dark chocolate potato chips…

ALA Annual 2019

Tough Stuff: What’s OK in Middle Grade Books? at #ALAac19

This morning, I attended a great discussion at the Pop Top Stage of the Exhibit Hall.  I was so excited to hear some of my favorite middle grade authors talking about their craft and what they feel they can and cannot do in their books.  A panel of six female middle grade authors discussed their “awkward” moments from childhood.  They then went on to discuss how they write middle grade fiction.  )For purposes of the discussion, “middle grade” was defined as the transition period between being a kid and growing up.) Middle grade novels allow authors to deal with the harsh realities of life but show the silver-lining and the hopefulness of a child.  The authors agreed that middle grade books should give readers HOPE.  These books provide educators and parents with a way to address the tough topics with which children deal.  We can’t ignore these tough topics because…

ALA Annual 2019

This Recap Does Not Give Justice to Justice Sotomayor at #ALAac19

  Sonia Sotomayor entered to a standing ovation to which she replied, “My favorite people! I love librarians” because librarians open the world to children and give them opportunities they otherwise could not have. Early in the discussion, she came down off the stage and wandered through the audience hugging and shaking hands with adoring fans! She said so many inspiring things, here are a few of my favorite quotes and details: She is “living proof of how libraries can affect people for life.” She loved going through the old library card catalogs! Her first chapter books were “Nancy Drew.” In 6th grade, “Lord of the Flies” really affected her-she wanted to become a lawyer so she could help people see that laws serve us as a community Laws help us make sacrifices for the greater good Our greatest obstacle in life is fear. “Most important skill for librarians is…

ALA Annual 2019

It’s All Fun and GAMES at ALA Play #ALAac19

I just got in from ALA Play, An Evening of Gaming, Maker, & STEM, sponsored by the Games and Gaming Round Table at #ALAac19.  Attendees got to watch demonstrations of and PARTICIPATE in different board games and card games.  There were games for young children as well as for adults.  We also got to paint our own Warhammer miniature.  (This was very relaxing and a good way to meet and interact with other librarians from around the country!)  There were also ten or more raffle prizes given out at the end of the evening. It was great learning about the new games that are available.  I was excited to see that a lot of the games for younger children incorporate STEM and problem-solving while making it fun–what kid wouldn’t love solving crimes committed by cats or designing their own working mini-rollercoaster?!  I got some great ideas for game nights(/afternoons!) at…

ALA Annual 2019

On the way to #ALAac19

Ready for #ALAac19!  Bags are packed (and hopefully on the plane, too) as I leave sunny, HOT New Orleans for Washington, DC!  This is my second ALA Annual conference but my first one out of town as I was lucky last year to have it here in New Orleans.  So, I have two checked bags that are completely empty.  The check-in agent commented that they were empty.  I said, “Oh, they won’t be when I get back!”