IRA Day One: Rain, Dinner, & Big Plans

Technically, the International Reading Association Convention in Chicago starts today, so today should be Day One, but since I arrived in town yesterday, I’m taking liberties.  Getting here itself was a bit of a trick, since Chicago was so rainy and foggy yesterday that the tops of the skyscrapers were swallowed up in clouds. My flight was delayed about an hour and a half, and from what I’ve seen on Twitter, I was one of the lucky ones. So many tweets from authors & teachers stuck in airports! I hope everyone trying to get to IRA makes it today!

Last night, I attended a publisher dinner with the awesome Walker/Bloomsbury folks, some amazing teachers & librarians, and author/illustrators Matt McElligott and Kevin O’Malley, all of whom were delightful.  Two of the educators who joined us, Suzanne Jensen and Marjorie Podzielinski, were familiar faces because I Skyped with their students earlier this year.  It was so much fun to meet them in person, and today, we’re presenting together, talking about Skype author visits as part of the IRA Teachers’ Choice Symposium. After my part of the presentation, Shannon Hale will be doing a live Skype visit with kids in Kansas and Texas. And authors Kate Klimo and Kathy Erskine will be presenting, too – I can’t wait!  (A couple LJ friends who know Kathy in person have told me that I must hug her for them when I see her. I am hoping she is the kind of person who will not be troubled by hugs from a stranger. Fair warning, Kathy, if you are reading this!)

So today, our symposium is from 11-1:45.  Shannon Hale and I will be signing in the Bloomsbury/Walker booth from 2-3.  I plan to spend a couple hours ogling new books on the exhibit hall floor after that and will try to take some photos to share later on.  Tonight, there’s another publisher dinner, where I’ll finally get to meet fellow Walker author Danette Haworth, whom I’ve known online since before either of us were Walker authors. I love that about the children’s book community; even when you are far away from home and don’t "know" anyone, you still find friends.

More to come (with pictures!) later on!

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