So far, I've managed to keep my nostrils above water. It sure has helped that this is now officially Book Season, filled with invigorating, soul-warming author events.
Last Saturday, the Children's Literature Council of Southern CA held its annual Fall Gala. Hearkening back to the early days of its 50-year history, the Council decided to throw a glitzier event than the breakfasts that have predominated over the last decade. Dress was "semi-formal," drinks were served, and (because the event was held in the afternoon), guests could segue into cocktails and dinner afterward at one of Pasadena's many fine restaurants.
The keynote speaker was Lois Lowry, whom I don't think I've ever heard speak. Her presentation, accompanied by dozens of photos from her childhood, was poignant and funny, rich and humorous, and just the right length (we wanted more but were left well satisfied). I felt like the only person in the audience who hadn't known that The Giver and Number the Stars feature jacket photos that Ms. Lowry took herself in the 70s.
What is particularly nurturing about the Fall Gala and similar local events is that it is essentially a gathering of good friends. Even in the early days when I didn't know many folks, I felt surrounded by good, interesting, smart folks who love books as I do - and as I got to know them, this turned out to be true. It's a great opportunity to greet old friends and make new ones. Unfortunately, I was so busy doing this on Saturday that I missed out on meeting Lois Lowry herself, though I would have been too shy to do more than beam at her. Next time, darn it...
Luckily, there were yet more bookish delights yesterday at the quarterly YA Librarians' Information Meeting. Planning and convening these meetings is one of my responsibilities (same for the Children's Librarians' Information Meeting) - and while the other 3 YA meetings this year have been packed to the gills with updates, training, and presentations, it felt necessary to end this very challenging, crazy year with something more spiritually enriching.
So - I invited Jennifer Hunt, VP of Acquisition and Development and editor-at-large at Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers (and newly relocated to LA - yes!), and seven local YA authors (Cecil Castellucci, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Sherri Smith, Margie Stohl, Carol Tanzman, Janet Tashjian and Lisa Yee) to come speak to each other and our YA librarians about all things YA Lit - the controversies, the trends, the struggles, the passion.
|Yee, Tashjian, Tanzman, Stohl, Smith, Sloan, and Castellucci|
|Lisa Yee and Janet Tashjian|
Which is good - because I'll need all kinds of energy and good vibes for this weekend's CA Library Association conference!