IRA Day Two: Skyping Authors, Signing Authors, and Book-Spotting

This morning started early, with a really great tomato-mushroom-spinach omelet and a cab ride to a convention center that was already swarming with excited teacher-librarian-reader-author-publisher types. My presentation on Skype author visits was part of the Teachers’ Choice Symposium; here’s our whole crew.


From left to right: Kate Klimo, Shannon Hale, me, Kathy Erskine, Marjorie Podzielinski and Suzanne Jenson from the Teachers’ Choice Committee.

Kate started us off with a great talk about websites and how they’re great for interacting with young readers.  Then Kathryn shared some thoughts on blogs, social networking, newsletters (she is a busy lady!), and virtual visits, and I wrapped up with a presentation on my experiences with Skype Author Visits as both a teacher and an author.  Then, the funny and wonderful Shannon Hale Skyped live with 4th and 5th graders in Texas and Kansas to show everyone how it works.

Shannon is always a delightful speaker; she shared one of her elementary school stories and unfurled a long, long scroll of rejection letters from her early writing days.  And the kids were terrific; their nervousness at facing a room full of educators faded quickly, and it was fun to watch them enjoying the visit.

I also got to meet Katherine Sokolowski, another teacher whose class I’ve met via Skype! (A special shout-out to Mrs. Sokolowski’s class!  She told me you asked her to bring you along to the conference on a field trip – I would have loved to meet every one of you in person!)

Then it was off to the Walker/Bloomsbury booth to sign books.  Look who came to visit us!


That’s Shannon, Mitali Perkins, and me…


LJ buddy   stopped by, too, along with  , who was signing his new SMART ALECK’S GUIDE TO AMERICAN HISTORY later on.

All that talking and signing left about an hour for me to roam the exhibit hall and ogle beautiful new books.  I spotted a few famliar covers!


Look,  !


Tara Kelly’s  HARMONIC FEEDBACK was there, too!


And  ‘s CHAINS, which I’m reading with my 7th graders right now.  See the bound manuscripts next to it? That’s the sequel, FORGE, which I drooled over, to no avail.  (If you got one, please don’t tell me because I’ll have to take you off my friends list in a fit of jealousy.)

I’m looking forward to tonight’s publisher dinner with the Walker/Bloomsbury folks, then morning school visit (*waves to kids at Westmont Junior High*) before my flight home.  I am going to just pretend I did not hear that weather forecast for 6-12 inches of snow in Northern NY.

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