ALA June 2012 in Los Angeles, CA: Brian Selznick, Lane Smith and more!

Hello everyone. I've landed. My kids went back to school today and my whirlwind summer of work,  trips, vacations, family time, and craziness has come to an end. Let me catch you up a bit.

I attended my first ALA (American Library Association) conference in June of this year. It came right at the end of the WIFYR conference I was involved with. So after a very busy month of work, I kind of took July off. I'll post a few things I did that month but obviously I wasn't posting on my blog. I apologize for leaving you all hanging (as I'm sure you were, ha ha).

Back to ALA. I got off the plane, greeted by my college friend and illustrator, Apryl Stott. There couldn't have been a better way to start the trip. She is the BEST! We started out our experience by heading over to Beverly Hills and eating brunch at The Ivy (restaurant to the stars). It was DELICIOUS and we felt very posh. 
Then we drove over to spend the afternoon at The Getty. It was actually my first time there. I was blown away by its architectural beauty and by all the amazing artwork inside. So perfect!
Then we drove through insane traffic to change and attend the opening reception on the convention floor at ALA. We checked in and unfortunately, I promptly dropped my iphone flat on its glass (face, that is). the screen cracked into a web of sadness. The phone and all the functions still worked for the rest of the weekend, but an $80 repair upon returning home is never a happy thing. 

The opening reception was cram packed with book-loving people toting bags upon bags. My friend and I soon found out why...the amount of free books and ARC's (advanced reader copies) given out was mind boggling. We found our fair share and laughed as we saw people waiting in the LONGEST lines for the hors d'oeuvres or free T-shirts. We were there for the books and the cool people!

On Saturday, I was scheduled to sign my "Dear Cinderella" books for Scholastic from 11-noon. I arrived at my designated spot at the 5 minutes prior as requested and was excited to see Brian Selznick signing exactly where I would be signing. I was only hoping some of his amazing talent would be left behind for me in that chair. 
Brian Selznick is the guy at the table closest to us, then the Publisher Arthur Levine is next to him.
Then I sat down and was quite honestly afraid it'd be an hour of smiling as people walked by. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I and my table partner, illustrator Bethanie Murguia, signed for the entire hour straight. Her book "Zoe Gets Ready," is absolutely adorable. It was great to meet her. I was so lucky to be in the company of such amazing talent at the table and with Scholastic overall.
Then for the rest of the conference, I was free to roam and have a great time. I met a lot of publishers and authors and illustrators. Here are a few of the other people signing at the conference.
Molly Ringwald...pretty in blue instead of pink that day.
I met and got a copy of Gary Ross's ARC. (He directed The Hunger Games movie)
And I was so pleased to meet the very kind and friendly, Lane Smith...someone I've looked up to in illustration since college.

I also met and chatted with the ever-cool and funny Dan Santat (illustrator, animator, artist), found my pal Nathan Hale signing and manning a booth dedicated to his work, and met the very busy but kind Simon Boughton (Roaring Brook Press founder and publisher) who even asked for me to send him my dummy book. That made the whole trip worth every second!

Finally, what is a trip to LA without Disneyland? I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go have fun and spend a day playing without any kids in tow. I actually spend all day Monday (before catching a flight home that night) at California Adventure Park. And I have to tell you, the Cars Ride is worth the wait. So fun!

I'll spare you the details of the long delays getting home, but let's just say I could've driven from California home in the time it took. But hey, I got a free plane ticket out of it. Hmmmm, now where should I go?

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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at

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