Last night, while strolling with my husband through one of the lovely, artful outdoor evening events that occur with some frequency in Baltimore, we were treated to a vocalist and a little combo absolutely butchering Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On."
"You take on Marvin Gaye," observed Bob, "you better be at the very top of your game."
Why am I talking about Marvin Gaye? Because a) this post is about what's goin' on and b) you will be at the very top of your game once you avail yourself of all the exciting opportunities for professional and personal growth that I am about to list for you!!!
Baltimore Book Festival!
Books for the Beast!
Also because I get a little breathless when I reach for those high notes.
SummerTeen August 13
School Library Journal runs this online conference every summer called SummerTeen. You sign up, go on the website at the appointed time (August 13, 11am), and watch streaming feeds of live conversations with authors and librarians. Just like at a IRL conference, there's a keynote speaker (Jason Reynolds YES LAWD) and then breakout sessions. Unlike at a live conference, switching between sessions is as easy as changing channels on TV.
I'm moderating a panel on YA horror at 3pm. It's called THAT SCARED THE PANTS OFF ME and I would like to go on record as saying I DID NOT CHOOSE THAT TITLE. Pants. Why would getting scared cause your pants to fly off? Or... getting scared would cause you to disrobe? No. Watching Timothy Olyphant do something scary might cause my pants to wander off, but otherwise, I get scared, I want to put on more clothes.
Where was I?
So, since I have a history of yapping about horror to anyone who'll listen (see Something Wicked This Way Comes of Age, the Tumblr that I maintain with my fiendish alter ego Paula Gallagher) (just kidding, everyone knows I'm the evil one), SLJ asked me to chat with authors Joelle Charbonneau (NEED), Dawn Kurtagich (The Dead House), Amy Lukavics (Daughters unto Devils), and Devon McCormack (Hideous ).
It will, of course, get weird up in there. So join us!
Baltimore Book Festival September 25-27
The schedule is up for this annual three-day festival of performance, activities, and shopping. It's a big deal for a kid to meet an author or illustrator in person, so I am constantly exhorting parents at my library to take Janey to meet the famous author.
Some kidlit highlights: Katherine Applegate, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Liz Pichon, Melissa Marr, Carole Boston Weatherford, Laurel Snyder, and Steve Sheinkin. And a surprisingly steamy Romance stage, with at least two three sessions about erotic- and BDSM-themed books, if you're into that sort of thing.
KidLitCon 2015 October 9-10, Baltimore HyattPlace hotel
If you haven't registered yet for KidLitCon 2015, you are mental. Go do it right away. KidLitCon is a smallish two-day conference of people who write about, tweet about, rant about and rave about children's and teen literature. Sheila Ruth and I are co-hosts of this year's gathering and I will be straight with you - she and I have cashed in every dime of decades of accumulated social capital in order to put together one killer con.
[Note to publishers and other vendors: many companies are taking this opportunity to pony up a little sponsorship cash in order to thank the many bloggers and Cybils committee members who keep the conversations going about your books throughout the year. You couldn't possibly pay for all the publicity that KidLitCon attendees provide, but you can pay for an evening of bowling. See below.]
Our keynote speakers are Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies) and Carrie Mesrobian (Sex & Violence, Cut Both Ways). We went out of our way to find opinionated authors who write with passion and authenticity (although all of Carrie's protags are teenage boys, so we're going to ask about that). KidLitCon attendees like people who make them think.
The program schedule is being released on Monday, so I am not going to leak it - but I pasted it into a wordle and this is what it looks like:
It's apparent right away that we'll be talking to bloggers and authors about kids and representation and graphic novels and book awards and debut novels and STEM. And if you peer closely into this cloud, you will find some of the proper names who will be in attendance.
Sheila and I toured every damn hotel in Baltimore before falling in love with our conference hotel, the HyattPlace Inner Harbor. BIG rooms, FREE wifi, GREAT neighborhood, FREE breakfast. And a pool. My family and I spend so much time in that neighborhood - it is home to many terrific restaurants and is great to just walk around in - that I made an idiotic little video about it.
Sheila has organized a bus tour for Sunday, the day after the conference. That's gonna be FUN. It's an inexpensive ($35) add-on to the conference registration, which is only $125 and includes Friday lunch, dinner, and bowling. Bowling. Check out Mustang Alley's, the grownup bowling alley (grownup meaning they have a bar) that we have booked for Friday night:
My husband's company had their holiday party there one year, so I can vouch for the food. We'll have a private room with a giant buffet and a birthday cake - we're also celebrating the Cybils Awards' tenth birthday.
If you need language to use to fill out your professional development request for your boss or HR department, allow me to offer this:
- Career development for reviewers: Hear from three writers who have gone from blogging for free to writing for national publications, along with School Library Journal editor Mahnaz Dar, who will demonstrate some best practices in writing for publication.
- Picture book evaluation: Get new insights on how artists’ choices influence the experience of reading a picture book from blogger Minh Le, former Caldecott committee member Susan Kusel, and artists Matt Phelan (Marilyn's Monster), Shadra Strickland (Bird) and Kevin O’Malley (At the Ballpark: A Fan's Companion).
- Collection advocacy: Learn how to defend and promote books that some people might find “too scary” from certified coward Karen Yingling and authors Mary Downing Hahn (Took: A Ghost Story), Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies), and Ronald L. Smith (Hoodoo).
- Podcasting: Matthew Winner, host of the Let’s Get Busy podcast, will show us what’s involved with putting together an entertaining, star-studded podcast month after month.
- Award committee how-to: How - and why - should you consider becoming an award committee judge? A superintelligent panel of current and former Caldecott, Newbery, Eisner, Sidney Taylor, Printz, and Cybils Award committee members and judges will indulge in some Awards Committee Real Talk.
- And a lot more: Panels on intersectionality, STEM- and STEM-adjacent books, authenticity, debut writers, marvelous middle grade, graphic novels, evaluating nonfiction, and more.
Link to register: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1701772
Get our conference rate ($175) at the hotel: http://baltimoreinnerharbor.place.hyatt.com/bwizhgkili2015.html
Link to our Tumblr: http://kidlitcon.tumblr.com/
Books for the Beast, October 24
You'll want to hear what keynote speaker Jennifer Donnelly has to say, as well as afternoon speakers Gareth Hinds and Tonya Bolden.
I always come away from B4B with specific memories of some of the challenging statements a speaker has made. "America hates kids," said Bruce Coville. "I don't know why a nice kid like me always read the worst stuff she could get her hands on," confessed Robin Wasserman in 2013. "Every word that drops from my lips is worth embroidering onto a pillow," Jackie Woodson did not say in 2009 but it's the god's honest truth, isn't it?
What will Jennifer Donnelly say?
And then things slow down a little. Unless you're a member of the Maryland Library Association - in that case you should sign up for the Paula & Paula Horror Show - we're doing the live version of Something Wicked This Way Comes of Age for MLA in October and for Baltimore County Public Library in November.
And I'm going to Egypt, but that's a whooooole other story.