Posted in ALA Midwinter, Conferences & Events

Youth Media Awards Winners!

I was voluntarily #ALALeftBehind yesterday (online conference fatigue is real), but you know I was pinned to social media during the Youth Media Award announcements. I’m so happy with all the Medalists and Honorees!

Image source:

This is a great chance to put together virtual and in-person Award Winner displays – those always get attention – and add these to your Readers Advisory toolkit. Make bookmarks with this year’s winners and honorees, update your current lists, and spread the word.

Lists of the winners are available via the ALA press release, American Libraries magazine, Book Riot,  and watch the streaming replay on ALA’s Midwinter website (you don’t need to be registered for the conference to view).


Posted in ALA Midwinter, Conferences & Events, picture books

Bloomsbury Book Buzz and the Free Library of Philadelphia at #ALAMW20

The first day of ALA Midwinter tends to be a little slow, so I was thrilled when my friend invited me to be her +1 at Bloomsbury’s Book Buzz, held at the Free Library of Philadelphia. I was planning on visiting the library during my Midwinter visit, so this was perfect! We got to enjoy the Our Five Senses exhibit, which included some beautiful picture book framed artwork and thought-provoking questions about the senses various art invoked in the kids.

Still one of my favorite storytime books: artwork from Aliki’s My Five Senses (1962).


A friendly, giant eyeball welcomes us to the exhibit.

Artwork from Angela Dominguez’s Maria Had a Little Llama (2013).


Sketches from Zachariah OHora’s Stop Snoring, Bernard! (2011), which is storytime GOLD.


Artwork from Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight (2014).


Ezra Jack Keats’s artwork for Ann McGovern’s Zoo, Where Are You? (1964)


Finally, it was time to go to the Book Buzz, where there were snacks! There were fun tattoos and swag bags for all, and we got to enjoy author Isaac Fitzgerald’s presentation about his book, How To Be a Pirate, and the four additional books being fêted.

I love this picture so much, but the actual photo it’s based on was underneath, and it is stunning.

The work that went into this book is incredible: look at the Google Image search, and look at how illustrator Laura Freeman used it to create this spread.

I love this series! Connie Schofield-Morrison and Frank Morrison are back with their upbeat young protagonist from I Got Rhythm and I Got the Christmas Spirit. Now, she’s showing readers her school spirit, and the artwork is just PERFECT.

I can’t even do this justice with photos. The artwork is gorgeous, with warm colors and the full run of facial expressions, from “Whoa, this school is big” to “I am not having this”. I love this relentlessly cheerful little girl and wish I could channel her positive energy every day.

A Way With Wild Things has the sweetest story of an introvert named Poppy, who will do anything to not stand out at family gatherings, including dressing like household fabrics… until she spies a gorgeous dragonfly at one backyard party. Sara Palacios’ artwork is just beautiful, and I love spotting Poppy in each spread. Didn’t get a photo of this spread, because I just couldn’t capture the textures in a way that made me happy with the photo.

This book is WAY too much fun. It’s a story about girls being pirates, about tattoos and their meanings, and love. The author and illustator are both tattooed and fantastic, and Isaac Fitzgerald’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. How To Be a Pirate reminds me a bit of 2016’s Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler; I love the way each book illustrates the meanings we have behind our tattoos. Adorable, fun, and with gorgeous illustration with a definite tattoo flair.

Posted in ALA Midwinter, Conferences & Events

#ALAMW20 is in the books!

I just got back yesterday from the ALA Midwinter Conference. I wasn’t there for the YMAs this year, but followed the award and honors announcements obsessively via Twitter and Instagram. Here’s a full list of the winners and honors, courtesy of School Library Journal. So excited that a graphic novel won the Newbery!

The conference was great. I got to blog for ALSC, and wrote a post about the awesome Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable Coffee & Comics breakfast. I had such a great time at the breakfast, I think I’ll be re-upping my roundtable membership; I think there’s some great opportunities to combine my NYLA Pop Culture Roundtable work with the GNCRT.

So I brought home SO. MANY. BOOKS. And since my poor husband was with me, he got to see my madness all at once – I normally conference on my own, so he sees boxes as they arrive one at a time. Not so this time!

Okay, pictures are worth thousands of words. So I give to you, my ALA Midwinter 2020:

This is just the Day 1 pile.


My little guy video-chatted me as I walked around the Exhibits Hall, which was so much fun. Especially when we started playing with filters.

He also loved seeing me pick up books for him as it was happening.

I saw this at the Pajama Press booth, and MUST. HAVE. IT. Also, I talked to the wonderful woman at the booth about cats, our cats, and the cats we’ve loved and lost. I am even more of a Pajama Press fan for life now.


Total fangirl moment as I meet Pippa Park author Erin Yun (center). My friend Nicole from Fabled Films has the best glasses ever!


Who loves being an ALSC Mentor? Meeee! Check out my fabulous mentee, Samantha, who killed it with her networking game and made time for her family, too!

She also got a picture of me, taking a bite out of my Hubs, as I am want to do.

Thanks for coming on a brief trip through Philly and ALA Midwinter with me. THE TBR CONTINUES TO BUILD.

Posted in ALA Midwinter, Conferences & Events

My first ALA Midwinter!

I attended my first ALA Midwinter this past weekend, and weather be damned, I had a great time. I wasn’t on any committees this time, but I was one of ALSC’s live bloggers, attended some great events, sent home an insane amount of ARCs, and, the most exciting event for me, attended the Youth Media Awards.

First things first: ALA is HUGE. The Georgia World Congress Center is tremendous. I’m a New Yorker, I’ve been to BookExpo and New York ComicCon at the Javits Center, but the Georgia World Congress Center is even bigger. I felt like I was a librarian Dora the Explorer, heading off with my tote bag, rather than my backpack, exploring the terrain. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about a snarky fox stealing my swag, and I was surrounded by pretty amazing librarians and their families. There were kids galore at the conference, which made me happy: let’s get the kids excited about what we do! Bring the next generation in!

midwinter_1Contemplating the big questions at the Penguin Random House booth

Let’s talk about the ARCs. Advance Reader Copies. I thought I brought home books from PLA last year, but no. I sent home a LOT of boxes – thanks for having the Post Office on site, ALA and USPS! – and a tube, because there are posters that I have the bulletin board space for (and a really cool Dragonwatch poster from Shadow Mountain) and can’t wait to show off to the kiddos here. I can’t wait to dive into these beauties and start reading and reviewing; some of the books I took home included the sequel to Joshua Khan’s Shadow Magic, Dream Magic; a new Gum Girl adventure, called Gum Luck; an Animal Planet intermediate fiction series, and the Shannon Hale/LeUyen Pham collaboration, Real Friends.  There is so much great intermediate series fiction and middle grade fiction coming out!



There were several maker events, and that’s right up my alley. One of my favorites was the DK maker event promoting their new book, Out of the Box. It’s filled with cardboard engineering projects. Projects that you can make using cardboard! I’m a librarian, I’m surrounded by boxes all day long, I got this! We each received a tote bag, and sat at tables with toilet paper rolls, paint pens, scissors, and instructions on making our own cardboard tube owls. My fellow make-brarians and I had a blast, laughing, talking, and trying to make our owls look like… well, owls.

myth reality

I call this “myth vs. reality”.

A Scholastic literary event spotlighted some upcoming middle grade fiction. In Gordon Korman’s newest book, Restart, we meet a bully who’s lost his memory; Natasha Tarpley’s novel, Harlem Charade, blends mystery and art, starring a protagonist trying to solve the mystery of who attacked his grandfather, and Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang collaborated on This is Just a Test, which takes an often hilarious look at a Chinese-American Jewish boy in the early 1980s, who’s worried about nuclear war and his two warring grandmothers.


Each author spoke briefly, introducing themselves, their books, and what led him or her to write these stories. In a fun departure from the usual author readings, the authors engaged one another by turning their excerpts into a brief radioplay, where each participant took on a character role to act out the story. Scholastic was also kind enough to give us a tote bag full of books – the books spotlighted at the reading, and new selections from Emma Donohue, Kathryn Lasky, Lamar Giles, and Amy Sarig King.



I wanted so badly to meet John Lewis. I’ve been a fan of his since I read March: Book One several years ago, and was hoping upon hope that I could get to shake his hand. It wasn’t to be, sadly; the line to meet him stretched around the exhibit hall, and I chickened out. There will be another time, I hope.

Finally, the big time: the ALA Youth Media Awards. The biggies. The Caldecott, the Newbery, the Printz, all the big ALA awards for children’s and teen books happen here. It was such an experience, being in the room with other librarians and book lovers, celebrating the authors who have created memorable characters, told incredible stories. When John Lewis’ March: Book Three received an unprecedented FOUR AWARDS, we almost took the roof off of the Center! People were hugging, cheering, crying… it was an unforgettable moment, and I’m so grateful that I was there to enjoy it. You can find the full list of Youth Media Award winners here.

My first ALA was a heck of a great time. I’m not sure I’ll make it to ALA Annual this year, but there’s always next year. Lord knows I’ll be reading ARCs until then!

I’ve Storified my ALA Midwinter pictures here, if you want to see more.