As I mentioned last week, we’re all busily preparing to go to the American Library Association’s annual conference in New Orleans at the end of this week. In general, this blog is of course in the “just one man’s opinion” category – my thoughts, feelings, experiences, and far-fetched conspiracy theories about book reviewing.
But I want to take a moment to mention what my colleagues are up to. Several of them will be putting their expertise on display with programs in New Orleans. If you happen to be headed there yourself, I’m sure you’ll find these well worth the while:
On Friday, June 23, Books for Youth editors ask “What’s So Funny?” and explore humor in children’s books. Speakers include New Orleans native Mo Willems (a six-time Emmy winner for Sesame Street, a two-time Caldecott Honor recipient, and a former stand-up comic), Jack Gantos (a writer of diverse talents known for his dark, quirky humor, a Newbery Honor recipient), Lisa Yee (writer, TV producer, blogger – her debut novel won the 2003 Sid Fleischman Humor Award), and David Lubar (whose books have been recognized by Best Books for Young Adults and state award committees and who has a site here). All this at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside, Jefferson Ballroom, Friday evening, from 8-10 p.m.
On Saturday, June 24, our young-adult-literature expert Gillian Engberg will be taking part in the Alex Awards Program. The Alex is given to 10 books, published in the previous year and written for adults, but that have special appeal to young adults (for these purposes, ages 12 through 18). This is an ALA award, cosponsored by Booklist. Speakers include 2006 Alex winners Lee Martinez, Greg Galloway, Neil Gaiman, Susan Palwick, and Jeanette Walls. There were also be short remarks from the committee members, from Gillian, and from Talia Ross, from Holtzbrinck marketing, who will speak from a publisher’s perspective about the increasing crossover of adult books to a YA audience (a topic of special interest to me) and the growing influence of the Alex Awards. Comb your hair and head on down to the Morial Convention Center, Rooms 388-390, at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 24th.
On Sunday, June 25, Brad Hooper will host “Louisiana on Our Minds,” a discussion with authors of new books that focus on New Orleans and Louisiana. Brad (a frequent author himself!) will chat with Roy Blount, Jr. (his latest book is Feet on the Street: Rambles around New Orleans), Diana Hollingsworth Gessler (Very New Orleans), and Susan Straight (A Million Nightingales). Brad will be the one wearing a seersucker suit (it is N’awlins, after all) at the Hilton Hotel, Jefferson Ballroom, on Sunday, from 1:30 to 3:00.
(Brad, ever busy, will also be a panelist on “So You Want to Be a Reviewer,” at the New Orleans Marriott, LaGalerie 5, on Saturday from 10:30-12, a panel sponsored by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section of the Reference and User Services Association. If you think you’ve got what it takes, make sure Brad agrees before you print your resume on the pretty paper.)
Lastly, the Michael L. Printz Award Program and Reception will be on Monday, June 26. Booklist sponsors this award, now in its 6th year, which is awarded for “excellence in YA literature.” I’m especially looking forward to an opportunity to see my friend and former colleague John Green accept the award, for his first novel, Looking for Alaska, and give a speech. His former boss, Stephanie Zvirin, tried to take bets on whether or not John will cry – but no takers. We’re all expecting waterworks. Come feel the emotion Monday evening at the Morial Convention Center, rooms 353-355, from 8-10 p.m.
And, if you are going to New Orleans, please stop by the Booklist booth (#2240) and say hi. I’ll be there every moment that I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else.