Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Wow! What a great ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The city welcomed us with open arms and we had a great time. I am headed back to the island today. I did some shopping yesterday afternoon after I did the wonderful exhibits and the store clerks were so nice. Although my poor stomach had trouble with the spicy Cajun food, it has been a great conference and visit to this beautiful, but still hurting city.

Superb children's and young adult literature related programming this year. I was in awe of Aidan Chambers. He had me laughing and crying. The man is an incredible speaker and author. Can't wait to read his 800 and some page newest novel coming out with Abrams/Amulet. He spoke at the Abrams luncheon and had us in stitches. In his mid twenties he was so sheltered that he didn't know about girls' monthly issues. It was a hoot to hear him talk about his confusion as to why they had to go to the bathroom during class, and in pairs no less! He talked about the 30 year path he has taken in his writing, to arrive at the end of the story, with the aptly titled This is All, which is the sixth book in a connected sequence of novels that began with Breaktime in 1978. His award winning Postcards from No Man's Land is part of the sequence.

Chambers also spoke at the YALSA President's Program on How Adult is Young Adult. Michael Cart gave us a lot to think about, as he always does. Wish I had my notes in front of me. I had to write down a few of his statements to use in my YA literature courses. But, my favorite program was the Friday night Booklist Forum. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt! Mo Willems, David Lubar, Lisa Yee, and Jack Gantos out did themselves in making us laugh. After the all day workshop on audiobooks, which was fantastic, it was perfect!

Anyway, I can't say enough of how wonderful the conference was as well as how welcoming New Orleans has been as a city. Even though there are terrible incidents going on in the outer areas of the city, the French Quarter and the Conference Center area are well patrolled by police cars and safe. In other words - tourists, come back and have fun! We certainly did.

Now to finish packing and head for the airport. Although the bed here at the Hotel Monteleone has been comfortable and the service fantastic in the hotel, I am ready to sleep in my own bed and have my spoiled Sophie getting cat hair all over me. Steve said she tore a hole in the sliding screen door and jumped from the chair on his shoulders in an attempt to be a cat stole, so it is clear she misses her Mamma and I sure do miss her. Steve too, of course! :-)