This past week, I flew to Miami, FL for the Educational Book and Media Association (EBMA) Annual Conference. This is the concept of the conference: K-12 trade book wholesalers, classroom and library, meet with publishers in what has been termed “speed dating” to work out agreements, talk about exciting new products, or exchange advice about what product wholesalers are looking for. There are also morning sessions about relevant topics to the trade industry—this year it was technology in the classroom. The wholesalers and publishers have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together to get to know each other better.
Now, that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I get to talk about the fun stuff! During this trip, I got to meet Matt de la Peña, author of Ball Don’t Lie and his newest, I Will Save You (grades 9-12). He was such an inspirational speaker! He was very personable and humble, while being humorous. He creates relatable stories. I found it amazing that he had been close to his father, but then after his father got involved with drugs they grew apart. His father came clean after Matt’s younger sister ended up in the hospital because of her addiction. Nowadays, he and his father are very close.
I also got to meet Patrick Carman, author of The Land of Elyon series (I’ve met him while working at Borders too) and one of the contributors to The 39 Clues series, The Black Circle (grades 4-7). Carman had me crying, I was laughing so hard at his tales of growing up. He shared highlights of the Germanic 1920s stories his grandmother passed off to his mom to read to him. Let’s just say they were ridiculously moralistic stories, that are so over the top, you want to laugh…You had to be there to get it. Carman went on to talk about how he found the integration of the physical book and multimedia the next step in certain areas of publishing.
And to top off my week in Miami…I got to meet JUDY BLUME!!!!! OMG! OMG! As soon as I saw her walk in the first thing I thought was, she looks just like her photo. She is awesome! She was just getting over the flu, but she came in to speak to us and sign books anyway. She was very personable and down to earth. I loved when she shared the story about how her grandchild loved to listen to her stories on audio--Blume is the one who narrates them—and her daughter made the remark about how she grows up, moves away from her parents, has a house of her own, and yet, she still gets to hear her mom’s voice every day. Blume’s book, Tiger Eyes (grades 7-12), is going to be a movie…did you know that?
Blume is also huge anticensorship activist and supports the National Coalition Against Censorship.
And there you have it folks, my wonderful week of authors!