The Illuminae Stairs!

Sit back and imagine. A visit to San Francisco. Sunny weather. Books. ARCs. Authors you love. Librarians. Blogging friends. Crepes. Blue Bottle Coffee.

It’s the perfect vacation, right? That’s what I thought! Welcome to my American Library Association Annual Convention 2015 recap!IMG_7651

ALA was fantastic! Traveling to San Francisco, meeting blogger friends, chatting with publicists, and meeting authors made it an absolutely wonderful extended weekend. I’m so glad I took the time to drive to San Francisco and see what the whole ALA Annual Convention experience was all about.

I’m going to have to divide up this recap into several parts because there’s just too much to talk about. First, let’s talk about those BOOKS and AUTHOR SIGNINGS!

Learning the Ropes of ALA & Author Signings:

I’d never been to ALA or BEA before, so this was a real treat visiting the booths of major publishers of children’s, young adult, and adult literature, as well as some of the smaller and independent ones. Saturday morning, some of us book bloggers were hanging out together near the front of the crowd, ready to go, and when those security guards stepped aside, we stormed them! Just kidding—we actually didn’t—but we did walk pretty quickly to the Bloomsbury booth, which ended up being a little too crowded so we sauntered down to Disney instead. At the Disney Booth, the publicists were extremely friendly, and though I was disappointed they didn’t have ARCs of Passenger, they did have some other titles that were on my list! Over the three days, these are the titles I acquired from Disney. Many thanks to their awesome publicists!!


Titles include: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, Black Widow by Margaret Stohl, Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis, Hunter by Mercedes Lackey, Out of Abation: The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis, Starflight by Melissa Landers, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code by Heidi Schulz, Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, and Odd Aquaticum by Alistair Grim.

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The Harper booth became a place all of us book bloggers frequented often! Of course, Saturday morning included the RAE CARSON SIGNING and you know that this was one of the very events I attended ALA for. I was too star struck to get a photo but it was utterly fabulous to meet Rae, and have her sign my ARC of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER. I’m happy to say I will gladly attend more book events where she’s signing and/or speaking.

Over the the next three days of the event, we returned to the Harper Booth for either signings or to chat with publicists about certain titles. I’m happy to say that I returned with a wonderful selection of books I’m super excited about reading and reviewing for the fall. Two titles that I had been hoping I would nab included A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis and THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzie Lee.


There were two sides to the exhibit hall at Moscone and so we would hop back and forth for signings or for just browsing and chatting with people. Sometimes we stayed together in a group and sometimes we went our own separate ways.

That’s the beauty of ALA—you can always meet again later for lunch or coffee, or rendezvous for an author signing…such as the Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows signing on Saturday afternoon! That line was insanely long, but we managed to be near the beginning as we showed up pretty early. I had never seen Leigh before, and it was a joy to meet her and have her sign my ARC of Six of Crows. I am very excited about this one!


How can I not tell you about meeting Ann M. Martin, one of my favorite childhood authors, the beloved writer of THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB!?!?! Yes, she was at ALA signing several books, including RAIN, REIGN and also THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB Graphic Novel. I had seen her speak for the first time last fall at the Boston Book Festival, but this was the first time I actually met her in person, and it was FANTASTIC!! I think I read every single one of The Babysitter’s Club books as they were coming out, all of the Super Specials, and all of the Mystery editions as well.

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Since two of my favorites books (I have taught both of them in my college level Children’s Literature course) are the graphic novels of Brian Selznick, you can imagine I was pretty excited for the signing in the Scholastic Booth on Sunday. I showed up pretty early because I knew that line was going to be long. I had with me my hardback copy of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and I was given an ARC of THE MARVELS. It is AMAZING!! And Brian signed both my books. I also got to tell him about an article I wrote about Hugo Cabret that appeared in an issue of Bookbird, and so I was happy about that. I knew that someone with that level of talent and imagination just had to be a fabulous person, and I could tell he is! I have a few photos to share with you. The first photo is a bit blurry–sorry about that!

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Of course, I can’t end Part I of this recap without telling you how amazing it was to meet Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE! I adore this book, and when I discovered that Anthony would be there signing finished hard copies, I was beyond excited. Sydney and Vanessa were awesome enough to get in line early, and I joined them soon after. The line grew to around 300 people and then they cut it off. Thankfully we were not too far back, so we didn’t have to wait a terribly long time, though we didn’t mind. Anthony spoke to each person and gave them a personalized signature! I chatted with him about being left-handed (I noticed he was) and I don’t think I’ll ever forget meeting this kind and sensitive author. I’m definitely due for a re-read of the novel. If you haven’t read it, get to your calendar/planner now, and plan to read this amazing book!


That’s all for Part I of my recap. Stay tuned for Part II, with topics ranging from the bookish friends I met in San Francisco to more books I picked up to other fun adventures!!



What Katie Read