I had such an amazing time at the Texas Library Association! Here is a collection of posts from social media recapping the festivities!
A note to everyone we saw down in Houston for the Texas Library Association.
Our thoughts are also with those affected by the flood zones. Wishing everyone a speedy recovery to normalcy.
had a blast at the #AlwaysOpen panel on connecting with readers via digital tools! Here I am with Ame Dyckman, Don Tate, Tom Angleberger and librarian superstar Heather Jankowski!
One of the best times at #txla16 actually happened at the airport. Zoe and I walked up to a stranger and said, "Hey LeUyen Pham!" And she said, "Hey, Jarrett!" (We've never met in person.) "Zoe, this is the illustrator of Princess in Black." So LeYuen joined us for lunch at the food court, and we all drew together. And who walks in but Gene Luen Yang! But he didn't notice us, so we made it like we were paparazzi and yelled, "LOOK! LOOK! IT'S THE NATIONAL AMBASSSADOR OF YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE! HERE IN THE FOOD COURT!" So Gene joined us, and we sat and talked and talked until I realized Zoe and I needed to run to catch our flight. And once we boarded, we said hello to Jeff Kinney and his family.
We were raised in different parts of the country, but man, our back stories have so much in common. While Raul the Third would walk a mile through the Texas deserts to get ahold of comic books, I'd trudge through the snow to do so in Massachusetts (X-Men blue and gold teams). Ben Hatke devoured the comic strips in his local newspaper and drew constantly. We joke about how awesome it would have been to have gone to the same high school, but now we get to hang out at book festivals and conferences. Three kids who grew up to be dads and professional cartoonists.
If your students feel like islands, tell them that they will find their tribe!
Grateful to have met the genius who wrote Lowriders in Space. And Cathy Camper is a librarian to boot!
Jeff Kinney: Dav, let's get a photo together. Hey, Jarrett, can you take our picture?
Scene cuts to: selfie.
But Jeff was just needling me, because that's what we do. Lunch Lady, Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants somehow all color-coordinated their outfits...
So much fun to run into these guys at the same time at #TxLA16!
Stick around this book business long enough, you see some awesome things.
Back in the summer of 2006, I traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the annual Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. There I met, albeit briefly, an author/illustrator with big dreams. His work landed on my radar again later when I, embarrassingly, was Googling blogs to see if my name popped up. Don Tate wrote a blog post all about imagining an editor calling to say he was the next [insert illustrator name here]. I was shocked to see my name on his list. I was, in my mind, still trying to figure out how to make it in this business. So I have watched as Don Tate worked at it and worked at it over this past decade. He's released books, he's visited schools.
And you know what? There are now surely up-and-coming illustrators out there who post about wanting to be the next Don Tate. Don just brought home his second, SECOND Ezra Jack Keats Award. He won an honor a few years back for a book he wrote, IT’ JES’ HAPPENED: WHEN BILL TRAYLOR STARTED TO DRAW, and he now has won the gold for a book he wrote and illustrated called POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON.
It was an honor to have him on a panel I moderated at #TxLA16 last week. When I was asked to assemble a team who could chat about connecting with readers via digital tools, I immediately thought of Don.
So what I am saying is this: authors and illustrators who have big dreams—if you work hard enough, if you keep at it, it'll never be a question of IF, but a question of WHEN! Don Tate is an inspiration, and I love his work!
In 2003, I travelled down to the Cy-Fair school district in Houston, TX to visit schools. It was the first time that I stepped on an airplane for school visits. There, I met some wonderful librarians who would host me again and again over the years—that support was crucial to my getting this writing/illustrating career on its feet. I was in my mid-twenties, and they all took care of me like proud aunties. I was lucky enough to run into some of those original librarians at #TxLA16 this past week. And what?! Retirement?! How is that even possible? Ruth Weisman is retiring this year and Jackie Hopkins retired a few years back?!
I hope that they can put their feet up and relish in the lives they changed in their years amongst the bookshelves!
I know that I am preaching to the choir here, but Tom Angleberger is just one of the nicest, kindest humans you'll ever meet. We had breakfast with him at #TxLA16 before our sessions started, and he taught my kiddo (and me) how to make an origami Yoda. The fact that he thought to bring some green origami paper to entertain my daughter while she was surrounded by so much grown-upness... so thoughtful!
Thank you again to all of the librarians who waited in line for autographed copies of Jedi Academy: A New Class!