Oh my lordy swordy Boordy gourd. I feel like I have been beaten with mallets.
Book Expo America is not your average event that librarians go to. Book Expo does not feature a slate of sessions designed to develop you professionally, shape you into a storytiming literacy advocate that brings services into the community and lures teens to the library with of-the-moment hip happenings.
No, man. Book Expo is all about GREED.
Publishers bring hundreds and hundreds of review copies of the books they want to sell, they fly in their authors and hand them Sharpies, and then let us line up and be fed this fabulous swag. It's... it's a dangerous environment for book addicts.
I am too physically exhausted from walking the floor of the Javits Center tracking down the likes of Tom Angleberger (Darth Paper Strikes Back!) and Nate Wilson (The Ashtown Burials), both of whom signed books for my lucky lucky children, to write a whole lot tonight. I'm just going to describe a few really great moments and impressions, and then Friday you'll see my picks and impressions of the greater books to come.
I resolved to not come away from this event with a single book with a dog on the cover. Arbitrary perhaps, but I am a bit scarred by that smarmy mongrel Marley. But there was a distinct animal theme to the show: when Walter Dean Myers described his day to the audience at SLJ's Day of Dialog, we learned that his morning routine includes "feed my wife's ugly little cat." I sat there for a while trying to imagine what that cat looks like. There are not a lot of cats (save the injured ones) that one could really describe as ugly.
Lines for popular authors were long, and started early. When I walked by the Harlequin Teen booth today, the place looked like a campout the night before an iconic blockbuster movie was to open. Probably a hundred young women were sitting on the floor waiting for - I don't even know who! - just as if that author was, like, Justin Timberlake. Waiting to get a moment with their favorite author. I misted right up.
Lois Lowry's talk at this morning's Children's Author Breakfast moved the entire auditorium to tears. Her new book, the last in the cycle that started with The Giver, is called Son. She spoke of young people and their belief that they can fix the world, and she spoke of her own son, a pilot in the first Iraq War. She allowed the young protagonist of Son to confront evil, but in the book, unlike in real life, the young man survives. Oh my god Lois Lowry - you so don't deserve for that to have happened.
Oddly, Chris Colfer of Glee was the emcee of that session. Ms. Lowry mentioned that she is now 75, and doesn't have to take her shoes off at the airport anymore, and pointed out that, at 22 years of age, Colfer will be taking his shoes off for another 53 years. After she spoke, when Chris resumed the podium, he very gallantly offered that it is a good thing she doesn't have to take her shoes off, as they would be hard ones to fill. That is a classy young man.
I found out the following tidbits:
- Jon Klassen is adorable - and extraordinarily funny.
- Dan Santat has illustrated approximately 754% of all children's literature this year.
- Jon Scieszka looks fantastic. I don't know what he's been doing, but I imagine he's been spending less time in Jackie's 5th Amendment.
- Michael Grant does not want to punch me. Whew!
- Egmont is about to have a really good year.
- Dennis Lehane could be a stand-up comedian if he weren't a phenomenally successful writer of thrillers. Who knew? If you thought about it at all, I'll bet you thought he'd be a gruff, impatient, dour shithead. But no. So funny!
- The 1920's are so hot right now.
- Jonathan Maberry, despite writing DARK TEEN ZOMBIE novels, is a jovial fellow who wears Hawaiian shirts.
- It's FIFTH WHEEL, Jeff Kinney, not THIRD. (That's for Jamie's sister, who has a thing about this.)
That's all for me right now. I'm writing on a crappy netbook, using my phone for an Internet connection. Now I have to go shopping - just a little bit! Hello New York! You're beautiful!