Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Book Expo America report


I'm back from Book Expo America and boy, am I exhausted. My feet are sore from trudging up and down the aisles of the immense exhibit halls, and my shoulders are sore from lugging bags of free books. Don't you feel sorry for me?

There was a lot to see and do, and I had a great time. On Friday, I saw Sandra Boynton in the aisles talking to someone, and I couldn't help going up to her and telling her how much we loved her books when my son was younger. Her reply, "Oh, you don't anymore?" made me smile, and I had to tell her that I still loved her books, but if I tried to read them to my now preteen son, he'd roll his eyes and say, "Mo-om!"

I also met a nine-year-old author, Reese Haller. His first book, Fred the Mouse was a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin awards and Michigan Notable Books awards nominee. He was a very poised and intelligent young man.

On Friday, we had the kind of schedule conflict that every author dreams about. My husband Nick Ruth was supposed to be at two awards ceremonies at the same time: an awards reception for the winners of the Mom's Choice Award, which his first book, The Dark Dreamweaver won, and the awards ceremony for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year awards, for which his second book, The Breezes of Inspire was a finalist. So we dropped in to the Mom's Choice reception for a short time, where we got to meet Dr. Twila Liggett, founder of Reading Rainbow, then we snuck in late to the ForeWord awards. He didn't win the ForeWord award, but just being a finalist is an honor.

From a children's literature perspective, it seemed that this wasn't a year of blockbuster/bestseller books, which I think is a good thing. Instead of a couple of books drawing all the attention, we saw quite a few interesting looking books from new voices as well as from established authors. I'll be posting more specifics about the books in another (or probably several) entries. There also weren't as many big name kids lit authors there, although there were a few. We were hoping to meet Rick Riordon, but were unable to connect with him because he was only available during the previously mentioned schedule conflict. I did meet Holly Black briefly as she signed a copy of Valiant for me, and she is beautiful as well as nice. We also missed out on signings by Tamora Pierce and Michael Buckley, although we did manage to snag a copy of The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child (Book Three). Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson were signing Peter and the Shadow Thieves, but tickets were required for this signing, and we didn't feel like getting to the convention center at 7 AM to get in line for tickets.

We spent a lot of time at the Treasure's Trove booth, where they were promoting Michael Stadther's new book and new treasure hunt, Secrets of the Alchemist Dar. For the new hunt, he has hidden 100 jeweled rings designed by the internationally renowned jeweler, Aaron Basha, worth in excess of $2 million. To promote the book, they had a contest to give away one Aaron Basha ring at Book Expo America; it's a beautiful, pink jeweled ring with an adorable, tiny ladybug. We had a great time working on the contest puzzles together as a family over breakfast Saturday morning, and turned in our answer at the booth. The drawing was held on Sunday, and we actually won! So, subject to verification, we'll be getting a beautiful, unique ring (on which, unfortunately, we'll have to pay taxes).

I'll post more details about the books we saw over the next couple of days. And, of course, as we work our way through the pile, I'll be posting reviews as well.
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