What We Brought Back – and Tried to Bring Back – from ALA

BookendsCindy: ALA in San Francisco (#alaac15) on the weekend of the Pride Parade and the SCOTUS ruling supporting marriage equality made for a special trip. The mood was giddy, the faces were smiling, and the costumes were fabulous. Now let’s work for equality in everything. Seeing a photo of Boy Scouts marching in the parade was a true sign that the times, they are a-changin’. Bring it on.

My primary responsibility at this conference was to toast authors and publishers. My 2015 Sibert Committee celebrated our fine list with the authors and publishers of our winners, led by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet who created the biography of Peter Mark Roget, The Right Word (2015). The Coretta Scott King Breakfast was an extraordinary event this year, capped off by our Sibert chairperson Deborah Taylor accepting the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The speeches were excellent—you can read them in the “ding-dang Horn Book” (Jackie Woodson’s term, not mine)—but if you weren’t there, you’ll have missed Christian Robinson and Patricia Hruby Powell dancing in front of the dais at the end of his John Steptoe Illustrator Award speech in celebration of their subject, Josephine Baker. It was a memorable morning.

Sophomores and Other OxymoronsBut what our Bookends readers really want to know is what new books are coming, what ARCs were hot or not available. We try to restrain ourselves, but then we stumble upon a favorite author autographing (like M. T. Anderson with his new YA nonfiction, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, which will be reviewed in the July issue of Booklist), or we see books that fit a theme we are working up for the blog (beach books soon), or we find titles that we came looking for, like David Lubar’s new sequel to the very popular Sleeping Freshman Never Lie. Coming in August is Sophomores and Other Oxymorons and I was delighted to get a copy.

Even with my bulging suitcase, there is always a disappointment or two (yeah, I know, you really feel sorry for me). I’ve been wanting the ARC for The Curious World of Calpurnia Tatebut it releases TOMORROW so it was not to be had. Fortunately, I can buy copies for my libraries soon when I get the purchasing okay for the coming school year. I have some girls who have been waiting for it, not to mention Lynn and ME!

Lair of DreamsThe hot book that everyone wanted, was Lair of Dreams, Libba Bray’s sequel to The Diviners (and also reviewed in the July Booklist), but it was not to be had. There was one, ONE, galley of it at the Little, Brown booth and Victoria Stapleton could not be bought. We were soothed by the promise of a finished copy in August so I am consoling myself with a re-read of The Diviners on audio while I wait. Ooooh, I just discovered that the first FOURTEEN chapters can be pre-ordered for free for your Kindle and will be delivered on July 21st. Bonus!

IMG_7209 (2)Before our plane had even lifted off (it was a looooooong taxi and wait on the runway) I had gulped down a new graphic novel that will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier’s books. We’ll be blogging about it SOON so I’ll leave the title and author a mystery for now. Stay tuned! Off to pick the next book from the gleaming pile. And I have already used my favorite ALA exhibit swag, the book bag from Penguin Random. It holds more than books, just sayin’. Ah, summer . . . .

Lynn: I don’t want to make this ode to conference too long but it was an extraordinarily wonderful conference this year and one I won’t ever forget. There was such joy in the city and it carried over to everything, from the beautiful weather to the sense of re-dedication to the profession that I always feel after ALA. We truly do have the best jobs ever. And, as Cindy says, I TRIED to be good and not pick up a lot of ARCs since we get sent so many but it is nearly impossible when faced with such temptation. Besides the signed copies of favorite books for the focus group and my long-suffering husband, here are a few of the treasures I brought home.

dangerousMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, by Steve Sheinkin (Sept.)

I devoured this on the plane trip home and it is every bit as good as the buzz promised.

Honor Girl, by Maggie Thrash (Sept.)

A graphic memoir set in a summer camp that looks terrific!

Woundabout, by Lev Rosen

Orphans, a strange steampunk town and a pet capybara. What more could anyone want?

The Inker’s Shadow, by Allen Say (Sept.)

A companion to the wonderful Drawing From Memory. Can’t wait to read this!

WinnieFinding Winnie: the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, by Lindsay Mallick and illustrated by the amazing Sophie Blackall

This is the picture book on the top of my to-read-pile.

The Devil’s Dreamcatcher, by Donna Hosie (Oct.)

A sequel to the very funny The Devil’s Intern that I read last year.

If you’re looking for me this summer, I’ll be reading at the beach or the pool. Like I said, I have the BEST job ever!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "What We Brought Back – and Tried to Bring Back – from ALA"

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  1. Nicole says:

    The ARC Lair of Dreams is available on NETgalley!

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