Tuesday, July 01, 2008

American Library Association Annual Conference

So I'm currently at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Anaheim. I'm always exhausted when I get back from a conference, but this time it's been a little different. I think I've grown used to going on 4-6 hours of sleep instead of my usual 8-10; being gone from 8 am until midnight or later each day; and tyring to remember all the meetings I'm supposed to attend. When I first began participating in the Young Adult Library Association (YALSA), I was able to attend author signings, professional development programs, and meetings about the best books written for teens. This year I have only been able to attend my assigned committees (intellectual freedom --three of them; and popular paperbacks for young adults). But I have been able to meet loads of authors at dinners and receptions!

I adore meeting authors and hear them speak. Their passion about writing and their books make me want to go out and read them even more! Plus, I get their books signed for people...

So I thought I'd mention some of the authors I met this time around.

Probably my favorite was Neal Shusterman. When I first heard of his new book Unwind, I immediately was reminded of the argument my mother would say whenever we were fighting. "It's not too late to abort you!" This book is set after the second Civil War. Before the age of reason--thirteen, life is precious and untouchable. But those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others. Unwind follows three teens who aer trying not to be unwound. With my mom's threat in my mind, I find this book fascinatingly creepy. Mr. Shusterman was very kind and listened to people gush to him about his writing and signed my book with a personalization!

At the same dinner, I spoke about Ellen Hopkins' books' popularity with our teens in Phoenix. I am always amazed that teens will read not only these massive tomes of books, but also about such gritty and edgy topics in VERSE! But they do and they love her honesty in the books. Her newest book, Identical, delves into the topic of sexual abuse. The library hasn't ordered this yet, but look for this fall.

At another reception, I met Melissa de la Cruz. You know, the lady who writes the massively popular Blue Bloods series! She was nothing like i imagined her to be. A teen asked me to look for an advanced copy of book three in the series. I am sorry to say that they only had a preview of an excerpt of it. I did get it so that the teen would be able to have at least that!

The last author I'm going to mention in this post is the winner of the Margaret Edwards Award. This award is for the life time achievement of writing for young adults (you know, teens!). This year's winner is Orson Scott Card. I was really interested in what he would talk about since he doesn't really like to discuss his books as well as the fact that there was some controversy over having him as the winner. His book Ender's Game is one of the best coming of age science fiction story I've ever had the opportunity to read. But besides that, he is an extremely gracious man. I spoke with him when I had a book signed by him. I had him sign it for my nephew who is a teen. He and his father read the series together and over Thanksgiving, he told his grandfather that he thought he would enjoy them. So my father-in-law asks me for the whole series so he can discuss them with my nephew. Here is three generations reading the same book and each finding valuable things within it to discuss with one another. How amazing is that! I'd love to hear about more experiences like that. I love how books can reach different aged readers!
So, there were some of the authors I met at the conference. I also received many advanced copies of books that I think people are going to love! But since I'm going to be on vacation soon, Karen will most likely beat me to reading those!

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