Your Neighborhood Librarian with some of the guys of Guys Read: Jon Scieszka, Adam Rex, and Mac Barnett. David Lubar is lurking off to the right.
Wow. Was this a great show or what! I am still a little breathless, not least from hauling the giant bag of great books away from the Javits Center. And I swear, I only took the great ones, or the ones I expect to be great, or the ones I really want to know about. I didn't take any random stuff, and still there's got to be 30 books in there.
Everything from Charlie Higson's new book The Enemy, which I find especially intriguing because it intrigues my 15 year old friend N, who usually restricts his reading to game guides... to David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken. The title alone tells you that this book is going to be a mega hit at storytimes for preschoolers on up. My son Zhou read it to us this morning - it's a star!
N's parents are my old friends Sean and Heidi, and I am so grateful for their hospitality and for the chance to hang out and catch up with them. I snagged a copy of I LEGO N.Y. for Sean, and a Sandra Boynton tote bag for Heidi, but really I owe them thousands of thanks. You guys are the best.
I also had the great good fortune to spend most of the show with my Psychic Friend, Eerily Similar Paula. We have much the same taste, so we had company while standing in the LOONG lines to get books signed, but we also did some divide-and-conquer time management. And then we went for drinks!
Mine's a Negroni, Paula's is a French 75, and the view of Central Park is mind-blowing!
Monday evening, before Paula got to town, I went to NYPL's Carnival of Teen Authors with my friend Z, who is 13. We heard intriguing book blurbs from Barry Lyga (I am really looking forward to Archvillain), Stephanie Kuehnert (wearing the boots I've been looking for for the past 4 years and talking up Ballads of Suburbia), Michelle Zink, who is very funny and cool, and a host of others. Z was beside herself when I scored an ARC of Lovesick, the third Ghost Girl novel. Met editor Donna Bray (of Balzer & Bray), which was a real treat!
Eliot Schrefer was also at the Teen Author Carnival, and isn't this is one of the best covers you've seen all year?
As I was chatting with Melissa Kantor, the author of The Amanda Project books (the first one is invisible I), she and I kept eying each other strangely. Finally she burst out, "Do you know Bob P___?" I slapped myself on the head and said, "I KNEW I knew you!" Bob is my husband, and Melissa and he used to be housemates. In Zimbabwe. In 1995!
I love New York.
The next day, thanks to my generous and charming friends at School Library Journal, two of whom I finally got to meet in person, I squeezed into the SLJ Day of Dialog. I arrived in the middle of a terrific discussion on steampunk between Cory Doctorow, Cherie Priest and Scott Westerfeld. They were kind of griping about steampunk purists who assert that "You're not steampunk unless..." I was a little concerned that my review of Boneshaker was one of the opinions they were bugged by. But I talked to Cherie Priest the next day and it seems I was both flattering myself and worried for nothing - I don't think she's read that review.
The Day of Dialog also hosted a picture book / graphic novel discussion, at which I learned that Laura Vaccaro Seeger is funny, David Weisner is just as thoughtful as you might expect, First Second is run by some excellent, idealistic people, and George O'Connor is both learned and unusually good looking for a comic book artist (kidding, everyone knows that Eddie Campbell is a god. The hair alone...). Keep buying the Olympians series - George has gotten the Greek gods right.
Got a chance to trash-talk with Laura Lutz from HarperCollins and she turned me on to You by Charles Benoit (above). It looks a bit brutal, like the flip side of I Love You, Beth Cooper (and what the hell? What happened to the Evan Dorkin cover?). These Harper ladies will tell you what is the what, I love that about them.
So the NEXT day, as if BEA could GET any better, Eerily Similar Paula and I TORE THE PLACE UP. We met:
- Tom Angleberger, who gave me an extra Origami Yoda finger puppet, because I have two boys who don't always take turns real well
- Tony Diterlizzi signing the beautifully illustrated (of course)The Search for WondLa
- Michael Buckley, whose second N.E.R.D.S. book is right this second being DEVOURED by my 8-year-old
- Marla Frazee, who signed The Boss Baby, which, as Paula observed, will be a great baby shower gift as well as a fantastic storytime. I often give Jan Ormerod's 101 Things to Do with a Baby, but it's out of print and hard to find, and Boss Baby is funnier, definitely.
- Cherie Priest, who looks awfully good in a bustle skirt (Steam Salon at Madame X was too crowded and... red for us to stay, but it looked like it was going to be fun) and whose Dreadnought I just can't wait to read
- Eric Wight, super nice guy and author of the excellent first chapter / graphic novel hybrid Frankie Pickle books, who was standing in line waiting for autographs just like the rest of us
- Jon Scieszka, who was joined by... Adam Rex! Mac Barnett! and David Lubar! They all signed Guys Read: Funny Business, and Paula and I gushed about The True Meaning of Smekday, The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity, and Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie... and they gushed right back at us. LOVE those guys of Guys Read!
- Lincoln Peirce, whose book Big Nate: In a Class by Himself I have already read, reviewed, and raved about. I asked him to sign a copy for one of the fantastic teachers at our school. And I got a sneak preview of Big Nate Strikes Again!
- Bob Shea, who signed Oh, Daddy! to my husband Bob, who is a silly Daddy just like the Daddy in the book. Bob (my Bob) read it to my kids this morning and I swear I wish I'd shot video. Much giggling.
- Mac Barnett, signing Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World. We asked him how all of a sudden he's everywhere (in his adorable suits), and he confessed that he's actually a very lazy person, so don't expect anything else anytime soon. He is lying: the second Brixton Bros book, The Ghostwriter Secret, is coming out in October, and also he's a big part of 826LA.
THEN we got a drink. (Assisted by Mike Rubens, author of The Sheriff of Yrnameer, who suggested the restaurant at the Museum of Art and Design when I asked Facebook where to go for a drink in the Columbus Circle area. WOW what a view. Perfect.)
I didn't get a chance to return to BEA the next day - I am in NYC for a couple of different reasons, and those intervened. I am pretty sad about that, especially since Paula tells me I missed Sandy Boynton, Rob Sheffield, and Jeff Kinney. But last night my men arrived to join me for the weekend, and this morning I shared my BEA booty with them, giving me a whole new reason to have loved this show.
Even the back cover copy of Michael Buckley's second N.E.R.D.S. book delights him.
Little red chicken helps her storybook friends stay out of trouble: Zhou reads Interrupting Chicken to Bob.