YA Author Love at ALA Annual

I love meeting authors. One of the reasons that I love attending ALA Annual so much is the opportunity to meet all the authors that I read and recommend to my students. I hate to admit it, but I am a true fangirl. Luckily, I can keep it in check and not gush when I actually come face to face with these remarkable writers.

My ALA began on Friday night at Penguin Teen's rock star author dinner. Laurie Halse Anderson was there. She visited my school two years ago when Forge the sequel to Chains was published. She was kind enough to say that she remembered visiting PFTSTA, and I knew that she was telling me the truth when she described our cafeteria that was surrounded by windows. Her novel that is due out this fall does not have a one name title, and it takes on some dark, contemporary themes. My box of books of ALA arrived yesterday, and this one is on my to read list.

I finally get a chance to meet Sarah Dessen

I have been a big fan of Sarah Dessen for years. Her books do not ever stay on the shelves in my library. The characters in her contemporary romance stories always pull in the high school girl readers. 

D J MacHale is a fav of the middle school boys
Okay, I haven't read D J's Pendragon series, but I never had to. The middle school fans of this series would sell it to their friends. I was glad to get a chance to meet the man who kept the boys busy reading. 

I met Marie Lu at ALA 2012. I can't get enough dystopian stories, okay I can get enough, but I loved Prodigy and Legend. In November, the third book in the trilogy, Champion, will be published. Unfortunately, no advanced reader's copy will be printed for this book. So I have to be content with this short sneak peak until November. 

On Saturday, one of my students spent the day at ALA with me, and I will write a different post just about what we did on Saturday, and all the authors we met. 

Saturday night I was invited to an intimate dinner with Egmont for the author and the illustrator of the Vordak series, Scott Seegert and John Martin. I was not familiar with the series, but I accepted the invitation because I thought these books might appeal to all the new middle school boys we will have this year. Many of them are reluctant readers and need fun reads that they can get through quickly. Scott and John were amusing dinner companions with lots of energy, and I also got a chance to chat with Katie and Regina of Egmont. 

Jewell Parker Rhodes author of Ninth Ward and Sugar

On Sunday, I hightailed it from the Hyatt Hotel to the exhibit area in the convention center to see Jewell Parker Rhodes. Jewell has visited PFTSTA twice. When our students created videos documenting their field trip to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans after reading her book, she took some of them with her to show at a conference in England. I think that I can now call her a friend. Her newest middle grade book, Sugar, came out in May. I am going to tell you that this book is wonderful. It tells the story of an ex-slave on a Louisiana plantation upriver from New Orleans. Historical fiction is not always an easy sell, but you will fall in love with the title character whose charms will reel you in. 
Chef, Giada de Laurentis
I wasn't one of the fortunate ones who actually got to meet Giada de Laurentis up close and personally. I could have stood in a loooooong line to get a signed book, but I hate those lines. I missed the first 15 minutes of her presentation, so when I got there she was already in the q and a portion of her talk. There were some great questions from the audience, and she was incredibly charming and funny. She told us that she does eat everything, but just not much of it because after three bites you know what it tastes like. I wish that I could adhere to that mantra that is so not going to happen. 

Author of contemporary realistic fiction, Sara Zarr
This was my first read from the books
I collected at ALA

I usually know when I begin to read a book by Sara Zarr that I am in for a good read. So I selected her book, The Lucy Variations, to read during my vacation after I left ALA. I finished it in two days. One of those days was spent in the airport and on an airplane, but it definitely kept my attention. I think that How to Save a Life had a more important theme, but I felt for Lucy and her difficulties dealing with her family who wanted to control her talents on the piano. 

There is more, but it will have to wait until my next post. 


  1. I'm a new librarian and attended ALA this year as well. So many amazing authors to meet! It was overwhelming. How did you get invited by the publishers to attend the dinners?? That's awesome!

  2. The publishers all have after hours events at the conferences. To get invited you usually need to be on an award committee. My student book group is part of the Teen's Top Ten program with YALSA, and that is how the publishers have my name. I also review for SLJ, and they invited me to an event.


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