Friends Friday

Normally on Fridays, I celebrate friends’ new books; today I want to celebrate friends. Specifically, my ten thousand closest Texas Librarian friends!

I got home very late last night so forgive any typos but I am still on such a high from TLA 2014 that I just had to share. And, considering I was only in San Antonio for 24 hours, it’s amazing how much there is to share.

Here is the view from my hotel room — love that Riverwalk. After checking in and a quick change, it was off to a Random House dinner with wonderful librarian friends. I got to meet Mr. T, the librarian of the year (missed my photo op), as well as the adorable Michelle Cooper, who was my guest blogger for From the Office of the Future of Reading on March 4. 

me with guest blogger Michelle Cooper, getting all graphic!

I thoroughly enjoyed my table partners: Emily Froese, high school principal and Kim Drawbaugh, both from Coppell Texas, and Donna Cook, high school librarian from Pollock Texas. And it was such an honor to be included on the author guest list with Chris Grabenstein, Jennifer Holm and Trudy Ludwig.

After dinner, I got to mingle with some authors and editors at an Irish pub (!) right on the Riverwalk. I nearly fell over when Shannon Hale recognized me and said hello — we’d only met once a few years ago. What a kind woman she is! I also got to meet illustrator Nathan Hale (no relation to Shannon) and promised to get him a t-shirt from my alma mater high school, Nathan Hale, in Seattle. It was a star studded gathering and I only made one social gaffe: upon being introduced to Trent Reedy, I exclaimed that I expected him to be much older. He was gracious to me anyway.

The whole reason I was in San Antonio for TLA was to present on a panel with Nerdy Book club founders Colby Sharp and John Schu, with charming moderator Cynthia Alaniz (a first year librarian but you would never know it. I predict big things for that gal. President of TLA?). 

Colby and John

My fellow authors were Tom Angleberger, Jenni Holm and Linda Urban. Talk about a dream team. Now, when you think panel, you might think talking heads. Not this panel! We played Whose Line Is It Anyway (on Kahoot; something new to me), folded Origami Yodas, wrote haiku and generally had one heck of a good time talking about why we love the Nerdy Book Club so danged much. If you are a reader, you are a member!

I’m so excited to get an ARC of the QwickPick Papers!

I had a terrific signing following the panel, where I got to autograph ARCs of DASH — Scholastic has designed another beautiful looking book. (Thank you, Whitney Lyle!) I also signed tons of Dukes, Hattie Big Skys, Hattie Ever Afters and The Friendship Doll. I don’t think I got to put my pen down for a solid hour. AND I got to meet nearly every committee member of the Horned Toad Tales committee, all beaming with DUKE love: that book is on their Horned Toad Tales list for next school year. Go, Duke!

After that, I decided to walk the floor. I bumped into former Woodinville writer Molly Blaisdell (she’ll be my guest on May 2 to talk about her new book, Plumb Crazy), and Stephanie Bodeen, who writes as S.A. Bodeen. She’s got a new middle grade mystery series, Shipwrecked Island, that looks terrific. Then I turned another corner, walking past the Whitman booth, where I saw my dear, dear friend Helen Ketteman signing. We didn’t know we’d both be at TLA and hadn’t seen each other in ages. So we took an hour over a cup of coffee to catch up.

Tall tale queen, Helen Ketteman 

The body’s a little jet-lagged and weary this morning, but my heart and spirits are buoyant. Nothing like spending time with some of the most dedicated, enthusiastic, generous and fun loving librarians in this great country to get your toes to tapping.

Thank you, Random House — especially the amazing Adrienne Waintraub and Laura Antonacci–, for sending me and thank you, Texas Library Association, for showing this writer such a good time.

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