What happened at ALA Anaheim 2012 - Part deux

So last week I shared a bit about my experience at ALA. Here is the rest of the dirt. This time no pictures of me (possibly), just fawning over famous-er and hugely (brilliantly) talented people (and therefore this post will get lots of hits).


It was like Wonderland (or WondLa- land, but I didn't get to see Tony DiTerlizzi). A famous face at every turn. Fun to say hi, to have a chance conversation, to meet a hero and be inspired. Here are some inspiring moments and inspiring people ...

The charming, enchanting and legendary Ashley Bryan, signing his book 'Word's to My Life's Song'.
If you haven't read it yet, GO get it.

Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song

 And then I got to sign my book for Ashley when he dropped by Charlesbridge Booth! A-MAZ-ING. 
A hug from Mr. Bryan can keep you warm and inspired a long time, let me tell you.

Here is the wonderful David Small. I love David's work .. his loose and yet controlled line work is so awesome. He's signing 'One Cool Friend' by Toni Buzzeo of MAINE. So I had to get a copy ....

LUUURRRRVVV this drawing he did!!!
One Cool Friend

And I found Toni Buzzeo again (Stay Close to Mama) on Disney-Hyperion .. another title to look out for. Maine authors and illustrators are SO PROLIFIC! (Just saying).


And it was nice to meet Caroline Arnold 
(A Warmer World, pub by Charlesbridge illustrated by MAINE's Jamie Hogan). That is 'MAINE'.

 Christina Forshay, a Facebook friend come to life on Albert Whitman's booth!

The incredible Jon Sciezka ... handsome as ever.

Who is this?? Come on, you know that bear, it's best selling author/illustrator Jon Klassen, relegated to  signing books on the floor. This is what we have to look forward to fellow illustrators ;-)

You may not know her yet, but here is Charlene Ellen, MG author, (my roomie) 
trying on a stretch hummer for size. I like it!

  Whose signing line do you think this belongs to? 
Clue - not me. It went for miles and to Hawaii for all I know.

 Yes it was for the zany Lemony Snicket, signing at Little, Brown.

And now CAKE CAKE CAKE! Let them eat CAKE!

Mr Ashley Bryan was kind enough to invite me along to Simon and Schuster's 'Celebration of the Picture Book' Dessert Party in the evening. Oh - cake, how I love you. 
But I really didn't eat too much ... REALLY.


Even more awesome than all those cakes was the guest speaker at the celebration. None other than William Joyce (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore, Rolie Polie Olie,  Toy Story ...). It was an honour to listen to him and hear how The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore came to be.

Joyce spoke of his long association with Bill Morris and Coleen Salley and the long journey to the final film and now, finally, book. Many tears were wiped away and it was truly a 'moment'. 
The short film was shown on while we talked and nibbled on cake.

Tribute to Bill Morris and Colleen Salley.

  Justin Chanda (S&S) introduces William Joyce.


Sets and storyboards from the film were on display. You can see how wonderful they are.

The room was so full of amazing people. Here's one of my favorites - Ellen Hopkins, best selling mutiple multiple times YA author. If you've read some of my blog posts you may remember I attended the Nevada SCBWI mentor programme organized by Ellen Hopkins and Suzy Morgan Williams a couple of years ago, so this is all their fault ;-). Ellen has the best smile and I am proud to know her.

As you can see we had a pretty, darn good time. A magical evening with magical people and one to recall when alone in the studio struggling with a layout or story and in need of inspiration.

Most embarrassing moment of the evening: singing 'The Black Hills of Dakota' to Jon Anderson, head of Simon and Schuster's Children's Books. Look, he wasn't wearing a tag and we hadn't been introduced! Jees. Well, I guess that's any career I wanted with S&S right out of the window. It was probably all that sugar I ate .... thanks for being a sport Jon and not having me removed from the party ;-). 

Back on the exhibition floor next day, there was Loren Long, large as life and twice as handsome, signing his new book Nightsong. It's GORGEOUS. Got to be a Caldecott contender. Just saying. 
He deserved a bigger table.

Prowling Houghton Mifflin Stand (really?) was Ms. Maggie Steifvater. (Shiver, Linger, The Scorpio Races). I totally admire Maggie ... and her amazing blog. I begged for a pic (isn't she so photogenic?). I also had a chat with her about her recent visit to the UK ... she travelled through my neck of the woods (Yorkshire) and it turns out she used my hometown and the surrounding beaches and cliffs as some inspiration for 'The Scorpio Races' ... amazing! She knew the cliffs I used to paint in art college. So I got 'Scorpio Races' as soon as I got home and reading now. Isn't it a small world?

Look!! It's Nathan Hale!  Funny and talented and generous.

And ... I was lucky enough to get a Nathan Hale original ... and it is not going on ebay.

 Couldn't resist posting Olivia again. TOO SWEET! 
I want a character that comes to life and walks around at exhibitions being harassed by strange women.

My best moment of the whole shebang happened by chance in a crowded elevator. Typically I was not at my best, (SIGH) having just been for a swim, wrapped in a dripping sarong and bathing suit and with people trying not to come in contact with me. As the elevator emptied (no doubt folks leaping off at any floor to avoid the wet person) I was left in one corner, dripping quietly, and with two guys in the other corner (as far away as possible from me). And then I realized omg, OMG, - that's Brian Selznick! To speak or not to speak? I gibbered and stuck out a damp hand and gabbled something about how much I admired and loved his work and possibly dropped a curtsey. (We Brits are trained from birth). Brian was lovely and thanked me (and even shook my clammy mitt) and introduced me to his partner. I staggered out at my floor and collapsed in ecstasy on my bed.

These are the things that make a trip memorable. And it was just that, the whole thing, memorable! Roll on ALA 2013!


I also hugged Dan Santat, but no photo to prove it, or sell on ebay.