Sunday, October 12, 2014

Anderson's YA Literature Conference Wrap-Up...

I was thinking today that it has been FOREVER since I've done a post about the books I have gotten, but then I thought WAIT I should do something about what we did a couple weekends ago...

On Sat., Sept. 27th was the 11th Annual Anderson's Bookshop YA Literature Conference in Naperville, IL. Rachel (with her English Teacher hat on) and I (with my School Librarian hat on) headed out at about 5 a.m. down the road to get there by 7:30 a.m. Dang that's early! There was a lot of coffee involved honestly, but very little construction which was great. 

After we arrived and checked in, it was time to pick out our table for the day which always includes one amazing author you spend the morning and lunch with along with a table full of other educators. Out of over 45+ authors, we were lucky enough to get the table where HOLLY BLACK sat! Woot! Woot! 

Next, it was time for our first two featured speakers of the day and WOW were they amazing...
Joan Bauer 
Holy moly was Joan inspirational! I had no idea how amazing she was going to be. I am going to read one of her books ASAP now! It will be one of the last two I think after hearing her talk about those two the most, ALMOST HOME or TELL ME

Carl Hiaasen 
I loved hearing him talk about his books, and especially his newest book Skink! That character is just TOO FUN! He's off the charts BIZARRE! I mean, who would think to have a character who literally eats roadkill!? Skink was excellent by the way in case you were wondering! Read it ASAP!!

Next it was off to pick our first sessions to attend. I ran off to try to squish myself into the session, FANTASTICAL WORLD BUILDING which was on the 12 floor for some reason while everything else was on floor 1 and 2. Rachel went off to FALLING IN & OUT OF LOVE. 
Here's the list of authors from FANTASTICAL WORLD BUILDING: Holly Black, Kendare Blake, Cassandra Clare, Delilah Dawson, Katherine Howe & Sara B. Larson. The moderator, who was a local librarian, was excellent at keeping things rolling with her questions that the panelists easily answered filling the 45 minute time slot. It was fascinating to hear how these authors build their worlds and their advice to writers.
And here's the only sad picture from that session I was able to get because it was SO packed in there with people! 
Sara B. Larson 

Rachel's session, FALLING IN & OUT OF LOVE: Adi Alsaid, Simone Elkeles, Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Stephanie Perkins, Philip Siegel, & Siobhan Vivian.

Then it was on to another session! Next we both happened to choose the same one: GREAT READS ARE MUSIC TO THE EAR. 
Authors included: Joan Bauer, Joelle Charbonneau, Kevin Emerson, Mark Parsons, Frank Portman, Wendelin Van Draanen & Len Vlahos.

In this one they all went through on their own and talked about how music drove their lives and how it had shaped their lives. They also talked about how music had shaped their writing and their books as well, which was fascinating as well. I knew a bit about Joelle since I had met her before, but not about the others at all. 

Next it was time to hear "What's New in YA Lit" - this is always interesting, but either because I'm a huge reader, a JLG subscriber, or a blogger usually doesn't leave very many surprises for me. Only the non-fiction titles tend to be ones I write down as ones to check out when I get back as possibles to add to my purchase lists for the libraries. The rest are usually already on my lists. 

Now it was time for more Featured Speakers, and they were just as awesome as the 1st two: 
Meg Wolitzer 

Jon Scieszka 

Next we FINALLY got to eat lunch...of course Rachel told me that Holly and Cassie were signing outside and so I ran off and got my books signed instead of eating, which worked out fine because later when they were prepping for their talk they BOTH sat right next to me and I swear I could have died happy right then and there!!! 
See my dorky I might faint face! :P I am SO AKWARD! 

Plus, I got my WHOLE pile of books signed by them...

These were the only two books I bought to get signed! :)

After lunch, it was time for another session and I chose THE DARKER SIDE OF BEAUTIFUL. Christa was the moderator for this one, which was fun since I met her at the conference last year. She's a fascinating person. I mean, just wow! One thing that has really stuck with me, other than their books from this session, has been their discussion about how in their industry it always seems to be that it's the sexual situations NOT the violence that get's sensored or challenged all around. There were very interesting discussions all around by the panel. 
with authors Madeleine Kuderick, Meg Wolitzer, Rachel DeWoskin, Sharon Biggs Waller & Christa Desir...
Julie Halpern, Stephanie Hemphill, Madeleine Kuderick, Meg Wolitzer & Rachel DeWoskin.

Next up, were two more Featured Speaker spots that were DYNAMITE! 
Trent Reedy 
He broke my heart over and over with the realities of war and he aftermath of a veteran trying to deal with the life he comes home to after war. Holy crap was his speech powerful! 
Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Last was book signing and autograph time...and I only had a few books to get signed so I just visited and took some pictures! :) Yep, that's how I roll...

Alaya Dawn Johnson 
This book is AMAZING!!! If you haven't read it, you really should. It's = WOW! 

Joelle Charbonneau 

Joan Bauer 

Meg Wolitzer 

Jon Scieszka 

Stephanie Perkins 

Wendelin Van Draanen 

Rachel DeWoskin 

All in all it was a great day as usual! This is such a wonderful educator's conference that I hope continues for years to come. My only complaint is that this year there were teens in attendance somehow which was rather awkward at times. There should be a way for Anderson's to verify that you are an educator when you order your tickets. Perhaps this would help maintain the integrity of the event for future events and keep the teens to the YA Frenzy Event the next day only. 

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