Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Mexico, New Friends (or YALSA Rocks!)

Tip of the Day: Be nice to your local librarian. Remember that her day does NOT comprise of sitting around reading. :-p

OK, as much as my return to the reality of my job has been a bit hectic after being away for 5 days, I can't really complain bc the YALSA Symposium in Albuquerque that I attended was FANTASTIC!

In the next few weeks, I'll be posting specific thoughts about the publishing industry that I gleaned while in NM, but today I just want to do a quick conference wrap-up with pics.

Three other lovely MCLS YA Librarians went to NM and our first night we of course had to hit up some Mexican food.

Friday was the pre-conference and the afternoon session on "Fat Lit" was especially entertaining for me bc a former Brighton High School student (the school down the block from my library) was there! If you haven't read Allen Zadoff's award-winning and hilarious YA novel, FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN'T HAVE, you must for laugh-out-loud goodness.

Megan Frazier was on this panel as well, and I really enjoyed her book THE SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY.

Friday night was the "social" where I met Selene Castrovilla in person! We've been online friends since her novel SAVED BY THE MUSIC came out last year. And of course, Terry Trueman needed to butt into the pic so we let him. (Have you read his Printz Honor STUCK IN NEUTRAL yet? It is hauntingly brilliant.) If you have the chance to hear Terry speak, you must attend. Funny and real.

Both authors will be at the Rochester Teen Book Fest in May 2011!

Saturday was another full day of panels, including one that was highly relevant to my library, on diversity vs. commercial appeal of YA novels. Malinda Lo, Cynthea Liu, Neesha Meminger, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez did an excellent job of showing the difficulties in getting multicultural stories into the hands of YAs. It was great to see these authors in person!

Next I attended a panel of YA editors who discussed the process and challenges of publishing books in translation. My pic came out pretty bad, but the knowledgable speakers were Kaylan Adair, editor of Winter’s End (Candlewick); Francoise Bui, editor of A Faraway Island (Delacorte); Diane Landolf, editor of The Century: Ring of Fire (Random House); and Susan Van Metre, editor of Fell and Tiger Moon (Abrams).

The final panel of the day was on poetry and novels in verse. Five poets talked about their processes and read from their works. It was great to hear them recite their own work. Margarita Engle, Pat Mora, Jen Bryant, Ann Burg, and April Halprin Wayland did an excellent job talking about this format that is popular with teens (will novels-in-verse ever be popular with adults?).

That night was the author happy hour where I picked up some awesome books, including an ARC of the March 2011 historical novel, BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY by Ruta Sepetys, who was on the panel the next morning about Historical Fiction. Her book is about the mass murders of Lithuanians under Stalin in the 1940s. Wow. Powerful, scary stuff, and so well written. She presented with Christina Gonzalez, whose RED UMBRELLA was a fantastic novel as well.

The final keynote speakers talked about censorship and book banning: the funny Lauren Myracle, and the tear-inducing Ellen Hopkins. For as many times as EH has been to the Rochester TBF, I've never had the chance to hear her speak. Sunday afternoon was my time, and wow, when she read some of the emails she gets from teens after they read her books? Just wow. I'm so glad she's been able to take her difficult life (re: her daughter's drug addiction, which spawned CRANK) and turn it into something that can help these kids. I'm proud of both of these authors for standing up for their books in the face of fear and opposition.

Overall: WOW. Amazing weekend, amazing presenters, amazing organization by YALSA. If I had more time, I'd go into extra details and add pics of all the books I walked away with, but I have to get working on my materials for the Falling Leaves Conference that I leave for on Friday!

Were any of you readers at the Symposium?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Christina Diaz Gonzalez said...

Hi Deena! It was great meeting you in real life at YALSA. (But next time can you take a picture of me with my eyes open and mouth closed? LOL.)

Kate Fall said...

I'm dying of jealousy. It sounds like a fabulous conference! And I can say I warned you about the food. :)

DeenaML said...

Christina, lol! :) It was awesome meeting you and don't worry, everyone can tell that you are lovely in real life. I just wanted some action shots!

Kate, yes! The green chilis! Holy moley! I'm glad the RCBF was excellent too!

Ruta Sepetys said...

Hi Deena!

It was so great to meet you in person. Thanks for all the great pics!
What a nice "devil eye" I have in the photo with Christina. Ha!

DeenaML said...

Ruta, you and Christina look lovely! :) And I finished your book -- OMG! I had to try so hard not to cry before work for the last 30 pages! Beautiful!