I had a fantastic time at the ALA Annual Conference held in Orlando June 22-28.
I attended on Friday June 24th and Saturday June 25th. My agenda was packed full of roundtable discussions, informative presentations, and of course, the exhibit hall.
This year I broke from my tradition of going to conferences alone and brought along my two oldest children. Both avid readers, and lovers of the library, I wanted them to be able to experience some of the joy and wonder that I experienced when I was their age and my parents would take my sister and me to the International Pizza Expo. I loved wandering through the large exhibit hall as a young girl, sampling all sorts of wonderful pizza. I imagined the same experience for my daughter’s but with books and tech instead of pizza. I was right. They were both in utter and total awe.
My girls loved ALA. The highlight for both of them was the chance to meet one of their favorite authors, Jonathan Auxier. Jonathan is the author of the 2015-2016 SSYRA book The Night Gardner, but my daughters love him for his debut novel, Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes. Haley admittedly is his biggest fan, and when I noticed she wrote him a note on an exhibit hall table I quickly snapped a photo, tweeted it to him, and received a reply with an invitation to stop by for his meet and greet. #Number1Fan
We may have been the first in line J
Not only did Haley and Ella each receive a brand new hardback copy of his newest release (the sequel to Peter Nimble) Sophie Quire and the Last StoryGuard (and not an ARC, either!) but Jonathan drew a personalized photo for each of them in the front of the book and posed for a photo with them individually, too.
Jonathan told us two things:
1) He only poses for photos with people who will act like monsters.
2) His personalized drawings will be gory.
He asked Haley what her favorite animal is, real or mythological. She told him a unicorn. He drew a photo inside her book of her being impaled on a unicorn’s horn. He drew blood drops and everything.
He asked Ella what her favorite animal was in the Peter Nimble book and she told him the sea serpent. He drew Ella hanging out of the mouth of the sea serpent.
Jonathan spent close to 10 minutes with us and it was an experience that I am sure Haley and Ella will never forget, and I will always remember hearing the girls say “this was the best day EVER.”