Nearly a year and a half after voting to become part of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, the Northern California Children’s Booksellers Alliance is relaunching its children’s bookseller meetings this month. Two have been scheduled so far this year, starting with one on February 24 at Book Passage in Corte Madera. The group is also looking at how it wants to move forward, including possibly reviving its annual Otter Gala, last held in 2011, at which it honored children’s book authors and illustrators.
Like meetings in the past, February’s gathering, according to NCCBA chair Summer Dawn Laurie, children’s specialist at Books Inc., Laurel Village in San Francisco, will give booksellers a chance to share best practices and bookselling challenges, meet local authors with new releases, and talk about favorite reads. In addition, there will be a programming component. In this case author Mitali Perkins, whose most recent book is Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices (Candlewick), will talk about the value of multicultural books and how to handsell them. Scholastic is also sponsoring a light supper at which booksellers will have an opportunity to meet debut author Natalie Lloyd, whose novel A Snicker of Magic is being released this month.
Looking ahead, said Laurie, who holds a position on the NCIBA board as well, “our intention is to grow the alliance organically in response to membership needs. My goal is to bring renewed vibrancy to our listserv, connecting more frontline booksellers than we’ve had in the past.” She’s also planning to add an alliance page on the NCIBA Web site. The meetings are in addition to children’s programming at both the Spring Gathering and the fall regional conference and trade show.
For his part, Hut Landon, executive director of NCIBA, said, “We are delighted that the children’s booksellers are becoming re-energized and reforming their group. We look forward to helping them do more by assisting with promotions and activities.”