Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spotted at 2014 Texas Library Association Conference

TLA Swag - Where do I to start?!

That's all the swag I picked up at the 2014 Texas Library Association annual conference in San Antonio over the past week. The two stacks of books are mostly ARCs that I can't wait to get my hands and eyes on. What you don't see in the bags are more books for teacher giveaways; posters, pencils and bookmarks for students; and teaching guides for about a dozen young adult and children's books.

The most thrilling part of attending the TLA conference was meeting authors and illustrators. Here are a few of the talented children's and young adult authors and illustrators I met over the past few days:

James Patterson
James Patterson was the opening keynote speaker for the conference. My kids love his middle grade books I Funny and I Even Funnier which he co-authored with Chris Grabenstein. My favorite Patterson book is Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
(Warning: Don't read while pregnant because emotions and stuff. I made that mistake). 

Patterson signed a copy of Treasure Hunters that I'm going to give to my daughter. 

Author and illustrator Peter Brown 
Students at my school loved Peter Brown's illustrations in Creepy Carrots, written by Aaron Reynolds. During library lessons, we watched the following YouTube video after reading the book and discussing the illustrations:

Naturally, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet Peter Brown and get an autographed copy of his new book, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

The "electrical engineer" enjoying the book. 
My son was super excited when I told him that I got an autographed copy of the book for him. In fact, it was the first one he picked up and read when I got home.

Young Adult author E. Lockhart
After reading and reviewing the ARC back in February, I desperately needed a published copy of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Not only was I able to get a (free!) copy of the book which E. Lockhart personalized, but I also got to have a picture taken with her. I think was I maybe a little too happy in the above picture.

Listen to E. Lockhart read the powerful first chapter of We Were Liars:

Extremely versatile author Holly Black
Holly Black is amazing. She writes middle grade and young adult books, and I love them all. Over the summer, I read Doll Bones for my #virtualbookclub on Twitter. Even though it's a middle grade book, it scared the bejeezus out of me in some parts. Doll Bones wasn't available by the time I got to Black's booth, so I picked up a copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, along with an ARC of Black's upcoming book, The Darkest Part of the Forest

Nikki Lofton
Nikki Lofton signed free copies of Nightingale's Nest, a middle grade novel. She was extremely nice and, as you can see, super cute. A discussion guide was included with the book. Score! 

Natalie Lloyd

I snagged a copy of A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, another book that came with a discussion guide and activities to do with students. I've heard really great things about the book so I'm excited about reading it. 

Henry Winkler
The closing speaker for the TLA conference was the incredibly adorable and well spoken author/producer/actor/director Henry Winkler who shared the challenges of growing up with dyslexia before anyone knew what it was. Winkler also told us about the writing process and working with Lin Oliver on the Hank Zipzer series for kids. It was a very special treat to have Winkler read aloud to us. 

I had two copies of Hank Zipzer: A Brand-New Me! signed - one for my family to read and one as a giveaway for teachers. I did get my picture taken with Winkler but decided to crop myself out of it because I kind of ruined Winkler's cuteness. And no, there weren't pink hearts floating around as Winkler signed books. Yes, I added those because I adore him and what he does to inspire kids to read. 

There were several other authors and illustrators I had hoped to meet but didn't get the chance to do so. With the volume of events, signings, sessions, etc. happening at TLA, trying to fit everything in can be overwhelming. So maybe next year...


  1. WOW! No wonder I never saw you at TLA. You were always on the move. Great article and thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Sue! Yeah, I was moving around a lot. I think three out of the four days I was there, I forgot to eat until around 6:30 PM. Not sure how I survived.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Excellent work! Keep it up--you are inspiring me!

    1. Hey Tanya! I'm glad we ran into each other again. It was nice to meet you in person and it's a pleasure to have you as part of my PLN.

      Please keep checking on my blog because I intend to add notes and comments from each session I attended during TLA.