It was a wonderful time out in California last week (and early this). The fam and I (meaning lovely wife, kiddo, mom-in-law, me) trekked out to Anaheim Wednesday morn early to do Disneyland for a few days before hitting the ground running at this summer's American Library Association Annual Conference. It was an amazing family vaca combined with an amazing conference, seeing lots of old publishing and library and blogger pals (Mr. Jonker!) and lots of new ones too (Mr. Schu!). How awesome is ALA to host in Anaheim?
After thoroughly enjoying watching the kiddo lose her mind at Disneyland, Julie and I kicked off our ALA with head-to-head signings at Macmillan (her awesome upcoming YA novel, HAVE A NICE DAY, and me with ANOTHER BROTHER and JUSTIN CASE books).
My next day, Saturday, was slap full. A signing at Simon and Schuster first thing in the AM, right after a stampede of librarians pushed in (think back to the crowds awaiting store openings on "Black Friday") at 9 AM. Followed this up with some walking around booth/publisher browsing and chatting. Followed this up with a lunch with our lovely agent, Rosemary Stimola. Followed this up with a wonderful signing of IF YOU WERE A CHOCOLATE MUSTACHE with my new too-cool pal, the crazy clever Mr. J. Patrick Lewis. MUSTACHE is a new, brilliant collection of poems I've illustrated by JPL that will be out in October from our friends at the newly Liz Van Doren revamped Boyds Mills Press. Though the book's not out til October, BMP printed up advance hardcover copies to be touted at ALA. I'm terribly honored to be a part of this collection.
After this, (it's still Saturday) I had a brisk walk over to the Sheraton to take part in Disney-Hyperion's "Storytime Preview." After meeting some very kind folks from the publisher, I was to introduce and read my upcoming (what will be my third) author-illustrator picture book, HELLO! HELLO! (to be released on September 18) I am so incredibly excited for this book, and was very proud to be presenting it (first time ever!) to a room slap full of librarians (think I saw standing room only, at one point?) alongside other Disney-Hyperion authors and illustrators also talking up their forthcoming projects--YA wordsmiths and picture book craftsmen alike including John Rocco, Marilyn Singer, and Mo Willems.
Speaking of HELLO! HELLO!, I will soon be assembling a book trailer and talking this up non-stop from here til September. Plus... I am incredibly fortunate to have convinced multi-talented picture book force-of-nature Philip Stead to create the music for said not-yet-created book trailer. Though the trailer still needs envisioning, the tune is 100% done and perfectly ready to be backdropped. In fact, listen and download now (for free!) here on Phil's site!
Next day, Sunday, I had two events. First up was an Abrams lunch with about 40 librarians, 4 other authors and/or illustrators (Michael Buckley, Susanna Reich, Susan Rubin, Barney Saltzberg) and a handful of wonderful Abrams personnel. For my part, I had to talk up my newest Abrams project, BAT AND RAT, a cool, nocturnal-urban-vermin-pals picture book I illustrated by the great Mr. Patrick Jennings. To minimize the spotlight on me, I crafted a puppet show (scrounged up my old t-shirts and put waaaay too much time in the designing, cutting, shaping, stitching of these Bat and Rat puppets) and convinced blogger/librarian/review pal, Travis Jonker, (man behind the curtain at 100 Scope Notes) to play the part of Rat. And he did not disappoint.
Thanks again, Trav! Fun was had (I think) by all! On the fly, afterward, we decided to give an encore performance with the puppets on the conference floor during my BAT AND RAT signing that was to follow this lunch. On the exhibits floor, it was equally as fun to hold a puppet show for passersby, though it did feel, you know, um, awkward in moments. Eh. What's fun without the awkward?
After all was said and done, we rode a ton of Disney rides, met a ton of costumed Disney characters, ate a ton of Disney food, bought a ton of Disney stuff for our Disneyfied 3 year old, then met a ton of awesome librarians, met a ton of awesome kid book publishing folk, did a ton of talking, had a ton of fun.
Epilogue: When I got home, after being asked about it by a few lovely and inquiring librarians, I bit the bullet and started a Twitter profile. Though, actually, I'm not sure how much use it'll get... but let's follow each other, shall we? My handle: @cordellmatthew. Already, I've connected with many cool librarians, many of whom were at one or both of the programs mentioned above, so Twitter's looking pretty alright so far.
Thank you Anaheim! Thank you ALA! Thank you Disney! Good night.