Traveling and SLJ Day of Dialog: Day 1

Hey Everyone,

So I definitely overestimated my ability to do everything and still come back to blog about it.  But, I still plan on sharing what I learned for each day, even if they aren’t posted the same day.

My drive up was mostly uneventful.  I did get a little worried when the skyline grew super dark in front of me, but except for some short periods of downpour, I had missed the storms.  YAY!!  Check in went quick, and I had my stuff laid out and ready to go for Day of Dialog.

The next morning shrouded the city of Chicago in mist and fog; it was almost cloying actually.  But it didn’t last past noon.  The keynote speakers for the School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog were Richard Peck and Laini Taylor.

They were fantastic!  Both of these people were a joy to listen to, and it’s no wonder that they are awesome storytellers.  I could have listened to them all day.  BUT, the day was super filled with publisher pitches and authors/illustrators speaking on several different topics.

Here’s some of my favorite moments and quotes:

  • Richard Peck attended school in Decatur, IL, the same school my husband’s aunt teaches at currently (Dennis Lab School)
  • Peck is amazingly funny
  • “Writing is introducing readers to characters they might want to be.”–Richard Peck
  • Illustrations can’t be purely nonfiction
  • Illustrations support not just decorate the story
  • “Memory and imagination are the same”–Kelly Barnhill
  • Authenticity, being true to yourself, and universal truths appeal to middle grade readers
  • Art school is the worst backup plan ever–for writers
  • “We all have this myth-hole that wants to be filled.”–Laini Taylor
  • Call to retire the adjectives strong and feisty to describe female characters
  • We just need to write human characters
  • Respect your characters and your readers
  • Kids are better at pacing stories than adults
  • Illustrators bring their storytelling to the story as well


I’m quite sure that I learned and laughed at more than just these bullet points, but this gives you an overview of what happened at the event.  And after all the talking was done, we had a chance to talk with the presenters and collect signatures.  Almost all the presenters were available to sign either galleys or finished copies of their upcoming works that were discussed throughout the day.  I, personally, tried not to be too grabby, knowing that there were more days of books to come.  But that didn’t stop me from speaking with authors and collecting signatures for friends and co-workers (and a certain third grade class).

It was a great day of exploration, learning, and sharing.  This was definitely a fun day!  Tune in tomorrow for my run down of today, my first day at BookExpo America.


And so it begins…

Today, I start my journey to America’s largest book convention

But first, I have to finish out most of my work day.  And then, traveling!!!  Since I’m only four hours away, I decided to drive.  Most people have told me I’m crazy for this decision, but I’ve planned it out and have very few worries about driving in Chicago.

I double and triple checked all my lists.  Packed extra socks and underwear, because you never know.  And loaded up my car before work, so I wouldn’t waste any time when I clock out.  I even decided to pack my laptop so I can blog about each day of the event (with apologies in advance for any typos or grammar mistakes as I’m sure to be dead tired at the end of every day).

Here’s a quick look at what to look forward to this week:

  • School Library Journal’s Day of Dialog on Wednesday
  • BookExpo America on Thursday and Friday
  • Candlewick Press party Thursday evening
  • Blogger dinner Friday evening
  • Nebulas mass signing Friday night
  • BookCon on Saturday

After all that, I want to do a final wrap-up Sunday night when I return home.  That’s it for now.  Hope to meet lots of new people in Chicago and maybe make some new friends.