The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur: I started at my new library (still in the same library system, new community), went to BookExpo, spent four days getting our library, which had been closed for renovations, ready for reopening, and sadly, dealing with the loss of a friend. The next week and a half brings three graduations and the start of Summer Reading. I will be drinking a lot of coffee.
It’s about two weeks in the past, but this year’s BookExpo America deserves some love. Here are some highlights:
- The children’s author dinner at the Princeton Club was wonderful. The author lineup was fantastic: Byron Pitts (Be the One: Six True Stories of Teens Overcoming Hardship with Hope); Tochi Onyebuchi (Beasts Made of Night); Mitali Perkins (You Bring the Distant Near); author and illustrator husband and wife powerhouse Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome (Before She Was Harriet), Dusti Bowling (Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus), and Mo Willems (Welcome). Each author (and illustrator) spoke about their books, and the publishers were kind enough to provide tote bags and copies of each book, which the authors graciously signed after their panel.
Every author and illustrator spoke with such passion about their book; I wanted to go home and read them all in one night. They’re currently waiting for me to get to them – more to come. Mo Willems taught us how to draw Piggie, from Elephant and Piggie, and I even found the power of speech to speak with him about the power of using the Pigeon when running a storytime workshop for parents a couple of years ago. What an evening.
- Getting to sit in on Holly Black and Ryan Graudin’s talk about their upcoming books, The Cruel Prince (Holly Black) and Invictus (Ryan Graudin). Ryan Graudin talked about the influence of her Doctor Who fandom in writing this new novel, which shot it immediately up on my TBR. Holly Black could write the ingredients on a box of toothpaste, and I’d wait in line to read it. Both ladies were funny – Holly Black discussing her deadlines was laugh-out-loud hilarious – and engaging, and I’m thrilled that I got to see them.
- The signings! So many book signings! I tried to make as many as I could. There were tons of in-booth signings as well as the ticketed signings, making authors really accessible to everyone.
- Discovering new books by smaller presses. I love to discover what the smaller and indie presses are putting out there.
- Getting a shout-out from Gabrielle Union when she made an obscure DC Comics character reference and I whooped. Come on, when someone makes a Mr. Mxyzptlk reference, you acknowledge that. She appeared on a grown-up book panel (I know! I even got big girl books!) along with Kate Moore (Radium Girls), Zoe Quinn, who tackles GamerGate and cyberstalking and cyberbullying in Crash Override, librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl, who’s written her first novel, George and Lizzie, Gabrielle Zevin (Young Jane Young), and Robin Sloan (Sourdough).
All in all, it was a good Expo.