Just popping in to say hi. I made it home in time to pick up Catherine at the bus stop. YEAH! Dad took her to swim practice, so of course I snuck into my office.
First things first. This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub is now available at Jen’s. Last week, Jen Robinson and I collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; grants, sponsorships & donations; and other new resources. I’m not even going to pretend I’ve read it yet! The roundup is better enjoyed when one’s brain and eyes are not functioning better.
Now a burst about BookExpo America/BEA. It was just fabulous. My favorite parts were …
- Meeting some of my kidlit idols (too many to name, don’t want to leave anyone out).
- Listening to Kidlit Spokeblogger Pam Coughlin (MotherReader) talked about Kidlt Central. She could be a one-woman show!
- Having Chris Van Dusen recognize me by my name tag and say “Thanks for all the great support you’ve given my books.”
- Watching James Brown (CBS Sports) come from behind his autographing podium to chat with a woman in a wheelchair.
As I walked the floor, there were grumblings about the publishers not giving away as much, attendance being down, etc. Speaking for myself, I thought the publishers were quite generous in their offerings. Bloomsbury Reps did a FABULOUS job booktalking their middle-grade and YA titles as the early-morning tornadoes whirled through their booth grabbing everything in sight. They asked your target audience and then picked a couple in that group and talked about them. I made a point of going back there to ask for booktalks of picture books and wrote some down.
I had decided before I left that I wasn’t going to pitch for books while I was there. The states of the economy and industry are burden enough, and given that the publishers are there for sales, I sought out publishers we didn’t know and introduced us as a potential review source for children’s literature. I selected what looked good for us and spent more time in autograph lines … which works out to 76 pounds of books shipped and about 20 in my suitcase.
One of the great things about BEA is the chance to network and get new perspectives on books and reading. That time on line waiting for an autograph can be as valuable – if not more valuable – than a book. The sad news is the condition of library budgets. There was talk of school libraries being closed and run by volunteer parents (as available) or not at all; shorter hours; and budget cuts. One librarian had gotten word that “another round” of cuts had gone through and that layoffs were inevitable now.
Still, their enthusiasm for reading with kids and finding books to spark a love of books never waivers! How can you not leave happy when so many people gather to celebrate reading and creating the next generation of bookworms?
Short has turned into long … and at the risk of rambling, I’ll close for today.