Monday, January 11, 2016

A Day at ALA

Hello, friends. Kara here. I'm a little bit tired this morning, and my throat's a bit sore (not sure if I'm getting sick, or just recovering from all of yesterday's schmoozing), but I'm going to do my best to tell you all about our day at the American Library Association Midwinter Convention in Boston yesterday!

It was raining yesterday, yet unseasonably warm. Somehow, my intrepid traveling partner and fellow Cottager Anika Denise and I managed to dress ourselves in appropriate-yet-relatiely-attractive layers. Our train to Boston was fifty minutes late, and our cab driver dropped us off at the wrong place (where we happened upon a biker convention AND a bridal convention), but eventually, we made it to the ALA exhibit hall. I always feel a rush when I first see all the booths — it's kind of like Christmas morning, but for book nerds.

Anika and I split up for a little while — she went off to connect with the editors of her upcoming books, Monster Trucks and Starring Carmen. And she managed to run into none other than Mr Schu!

While Anika rubbed elbows with kidlit luminaries, I made my way to the Candlewick Press booth, where I caught up with some former publishing friends, and rendezvoused with my editor, Sarah Ketchersid, who took me out for a lovely lunch. We talked about all sorts of things, including my new chapter-book series, The Infamous Ratsos, due to launch this August. Apparently the jacket art for the first book just came in from genius illustrator Matt Myers — I can't wait to see it!

After lunch, I went to the Abrams booth and met more than a few amazing peeps, including Tamar Brazis, who is editing my upcoming middle-grade series, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. Before I knew it, I was having my picture taken and was making a promotional video right there in the booth!

Then I met up with my agent, Barry Goldblatt; even though we email and talk on the phone all the time, we realized we hadn't seen each other in person in almost TWO YEARS. It was great to catch up, and to walk the floor with him a little. We stopped by the Macmillan booth where I enjoyed a little reunion with my editor, Neal Porter. He showed me several upcoming titles from his imprint — they were all amazing, of course, but this one in particular really knocked me out:

Amazing art and super-funny text from renowned author-illustrator Antoinette Portis. Can't wait to get my hands on this one, so I can share it with my little one!

After all that, I hit a bit of a wall, so I retired to a cozy chair in a remote corner of the convention hall; Anika soon joined me and we regrouped for a while. Then, it was time to check out some books. As we walked the aisles together, we browsed the latest and greatest from all of our favorite publishers. Here are just a few we loved (there were many, many more, but as I mentioned, we were very, very tired!)

Have I mentioned I am a HUGE fan of Steve Light's work? Add that to the fact that my son (like his father) loves cars, and you'll see why this board book caught my eye. Love the fun trim size!

Sorry about the slight blurriness here, which may have been due to my enthusiasm for this upcoming title by Lucy Ruth Cummins. No spoilers — let me just say that this story features a ravenous lion, several adorable (and unsuspecting) friends, and more than one unexpected turn of events. If you know me (and my book, UGLY FISH), you know how much I love surprises, not to mention dark humor. This book has both, and then some!

Anika checked out this title earlier in the day. Super-sweet, and illustrated by fellow Rhode Islander Jen Corace!

We both loved this one — gorgeous art, and a nice new twist on the are-you-my-mother theme. 

By this point, the exhibit hall was shutting down, which meant only one thing — it was time to PARTY! We hopped in a cab with some friends and made our way over to a swanky little restaurant called Pastoral, for a Kidlit Drinks Night event. So nice to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and enjoy a glass (or two) of bubbly!

Here we are with Josh Funk, Emilie Boon, and Jennifer Pulver Goldfinger (please note that all the empty glasses on the table were water glasses, ahem). Thanks so much to Sam Musher and any and all others who helped make this event such a success!

Thankfully, Jennifer gave us a ride to the South Station, and before we knew it, Anika and I were back on the train, completely exhausted but SO HAPPY we made the trip, even if it was only for one day. Next time, we're thinking of getting a Cottager hotel room, so we can stay longer, party harder, and of course, have a place to NAP.

Hope you enjoyed this little snapshot of our trip!


  1. Looks likes so much fun! Great photo with Mr. Schu! :)

  2. Aw - loved all the smiling faces posted from ALA and tantalized by all those exciting book covers!