I landed from Virginia and before I could unpack, I was off to the Public Library Association conference in Boston. I had a great signing at the Random House booth on Thursday and then I got to take a break from all the madness of running around and had a big lunch with Tony and Angela DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. It was good to kick back with good friends and talk books. I saw Alvina for all of a few minutes (sorry we didn't get to hang out more!). That night, Penguin Putnam sponsored a dinner for Jon Scieszka and myself. We had a great bunch of librarians and book people to dine with. Jon and I decided we were going to start a new award - the best children's book of the year awarded to an author and illustrator whose last name ended in "zka". There would be two categories - one for writing and one for illustrating.... So keep your eyes open for it and vote often!
You would think I would have retired for the evening then, but one of my favorite bands, Mates of State, was playing in Cambridge. And over the past 3 years, I have missed their show every time!!! So I jumped on the T and met up with my sister and our friend Skot for an amazing show. I wanted to buy a CD and a T-shirt, so I walked up to the merch booth and as I was looking up at the various T's, the kid behind the counter said "Excuse me... do you write children's books?"
I looked down."Yes," I said.
"Did you work at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp?"
"Yeeesss..." I responded.
"You used to be my counselor!"
And I did! Wow. It was Mark Jorbain. Wow! I hadn't seen him in 5 years. And now he is 22 and has started his own record label, Third World Industries and he is managing the opening act of the show that I saw.
I got to bed a little passed 2 AM and then woke up early the next day for the Guys Read panel discussion at PLA. I met up with Jon and Tim Basil Ering and we walked over to the conference together. Now spending any time with Tim Basil is like a whirlwind, because he just gives you so much energy. We turned up at the conference hall and Tim and I suddenly realized that we were talking to a much larger group than we thought we would be - there were at least 6oo people or so. Maybe I should have planned better - I thought it was going to be more casual! We were soon joined by the Erik P. Kraft (who has quickly rose to being one of the funniest people I know) and Tony D. Jon discussed the Guys Read mission and statistics on how low reading scores are for boys. Why don't guys read?
We were each introduced and spoke of reading, writing and drawing as young kids. It was amazing to see how many of the same themes came up in all of our lives - comic books got us into things, reading didn't always come easily....... We had a great signing afterwards and signing like that in a group was more fun than I would have ever imagined. We talked about maybe forming a band and touring together.
Then some wacky guy in the booth across from us started throwing around chocolate covered nut clusters. Don't ask me why - but I'm glad he did - I was hungry!
Here is a picture from the talk. Tim took more with his camera, so when I get my hands on more pics, I'll post them.
If that wasn't enough, then dozens of friends came into Boston for the weekend to celebrate Kevin Rice's (AKA Edie from "Page by Page") birthday. So many good friends came in from as far away as the UK, California and Louisiana. So many surprises and more good friends that I haven't seen in years in some cases and months in other cases......
I think I may be having over stimulation withdrawal.....