Authors are the lifeblood of the American Library Association's Annual Conference, and the event in Anaheim, June 21–25, offers a star-studded lineup.
There will be an abundance of authors at the 136th American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 21–June 26. In the conference's 500 programs, pre-conferences, general sessions, auditorium speakers, author stage presentations, and special events, authors join forces with librarians to make worldwide reading that much stronger. (Please refer to the official conference schedule for additional details.)
General Sessions and Awards
This year's opening general session (Friday, June 22, 4–5:15 p.m.), sponsored by Basic Books, will focus on a hot topic for libraries and librarians: technology, and the rights and liberties of users around the world. It will feature Rebecca MacKinnon, author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom. Mackinnon works on global Internet policy as a Schwartz senior fellow at the New America Foundation and is a cofounder of Global Voices, a citizen media network. In her new book, she argues that many of our long-cherished rights are in danger of being sold, legislated, programmed, and engineered away.
The closing general session (Tuesday, June 26, 9:30–11 a.m.) is sponsored by Hyperion Books and features speaker J.R. Martinez, 2011 winner of Dancing With the Stars and the author of Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit, which will be published by Hyperion in November. Although Martinez was severely burned in 2003 while serving in Iraq, he resolved to use the experience to help others. He will bring his message of resilience and optimism to ALA and will surely help end the conference on a high note.
The Grove/Atlantic-sponsored Public Library Association President's Program and Awards Presentation (Sunday, June 24, 1–2:30 p.m.), features Sherman Alexie, author of 22 books including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, and War Dances, winner of the 2010 PEN Faulkner Award. Alexie's Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories will be published in October by Grove Press.
Bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter Samantha Van Leer will speak at the ALA President's Program and Awards Presentation later that afternoon (Sunday, June 24, 3:30–5:30 p.m.), sponsored by Simon & Schuster. Picoult and Van Leer will appear as part of their mother-daughter author tour for Between the Lines (Simon Pulse/Bestler, June), a book they wrote together, and Picoult's first YA novel.
Big names and great writers abound over the three-day Auditorium Speaker Series. On Saturday, June 23, bestselling author John Irving (8–9 a.m.) will introduce his 13th and latest novel, In One Person (Simon & Schuster), out this month. Celebrated Internet philosopher David Weinberger (10:30–11:30 a.m.) will discuss his recent book, Too Big to Know (Basic), which looks at the future of knowledge in a connected world. Chris Colfer (3:30–4:30 p.m.), best known for his starring role as Kurt Hummel in the television comedy Glee, will talk about his first children's book, The Land of Stories (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, July). A fast-paced adventure, it follows twins Alex and Conner Bailey, who find themselves face-to-face with characters they grew up reading about.
On Sunday, June 24, 8–9 a.m., Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author, talks about his examination of the forces that drive us to cheat—and keep us honest—in his forthcoming book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves (Harper, June). Sapphire (10:30–11:30 a.m.), author of the bestselling novel Push (Knopf), on which the 2009 award-winning movie Precious was based, will talk about her recent novel, The Kid (Penguin), which brings readers into the interior life of Abdul Jones—the son of Precious.
On Monday, June 25, award-winning journalist Dan Rather (8:30–9:30 a.m.) discusses his new memoir, Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News (Grand Central). As if that's not cool enough, you can check out the Fonz—Henry Winkler and educational specialist Lin Oliver (10:30–11 a.m.) will introduce their new Ghost Buddy series for middle school–aged kids, which addresses topics such as bullying and living in a blended family. Ghost Buddy #2: Mind If I Read Your Mind? (Scholastic), will be published in July.
Among the most remarkable speakers are three young authors who form part of the "Teens Making a Difference" track of the Auditorium Speaker Series. Talia Leman has orchestrated the philanthropic efforts of 12 million children on four continents since she raised more than $10 million for the victims of Hurricane Katrina at the age of 12. On Saturday, June 23, 1:30–2:30 p.m., she'll talk about her work and her book, A Random Book About the Power of Anyone (Free Press), due out in September.
Also appearing is William Kamkwamba, the Malawian young man who helped bring electricity, light, and the promise of a better life to his family and his village, and who told his story in the New York Times bestseller (coauthored with Bryan Mealer), The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. And check out Gaby Rodriguez, who made national headlines in 2011 as a 17-year-old high school senior who had faked a pregnancy for a class project—a story that became the book The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir.
Young readers are the focus of YALSA's YA Authors Coffee Klatch on Sunday, June 24, 9–10 a.m. This ticketed event uses a speed-dating approach so librarians can meet as many authors as possible—a good thing, since there are more than 35 popular authors participating, including Kendare Blake, Matt Dembicki, Sharon G. Flake, Daniel Handler, Marie Lu, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Garth Nix, Neal Shusterman, Raina Telgemeier, and Bil Wright.
Also on Sunday (8–10 a.m.), RUSA, the Reference and User Services Association, will host the "Literary Tastes: Celebrating the Best Reading of the Year," a conference tradition that features authors from RUSA's literary adult book awards. Appearing this year, Erin Morgenstern, whose The Night Circus (Doubleday) was a 2012 Reading List top pick for Fantasy; Candice Millard, author of the New York Times bestseller Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President (Doubleday); and Mark Adams, whose humorous travel narrative, Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time (Penguin), was also included on the 2012 Notable Books list.
The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) will also host a number of themed programs. Among them, "First Author, First Book" (Saturday, June 23, 8–10 a.m.) will feature Howard Anderson, Beth Howard, Bronwen Hruska, Elizabeth Percer, and Beatriz Williams. And "The Laugh's on Us" (Sunday, June 24, 5:30–7:30 p.m.) will include Paula Poundstone, Lizz Winstead, Carlos Kotkin, Tracy McMillan, Julia Pandl, and Joel Stein. And, of course, the Gala Author Tea, a ticketed event sponsored by ReferenceUSA (Monday, June 25, 2–4 p.m.), is always a hit. This year's tea features Selden Edwards, Jane Green, Andrew Gross, Adam Mansbach, and Dustin Thomason.
Sci-Fi, Mystery, Comics
Librarians interested in science fiction and mystery will be looking forward to Saturday, June 23, ALA's Mystery Day on the PopTop Stage. Programs include "Laugh, or I'll Kill You: A Conversation Between Chuck Greaves and Deb Coonts" (11 a.m.–noon) and "Mystery Chicks and Private Dicks: A Conversation Between Jeri Westerson and Kelli Stanley" (12:15–1:30 p.m.). Later, LITA, the Library and Information Technology Association, presents Tor authors George R.R. Martin and Blake Charlton discussing "Traveling the Spectrum: From Interstellar Adventures to Epic Fantasy, the Influence of Science Fiction and Fantasy on the World Today," (4–5:30 p.m.).
Libraries with game-loving patrons will reap the benefits from the information offered on the Graphic Novel/Gaming Stage, with Sunday appearances by graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks (11–11:30 a.m.), whose latest is Friends with Boys (Roaring Brook/First Second Books); Mark Siegel (11:30 a.m.–noon), whose Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson (Roaring Brook/First Second Books) pubs in October; and an interview with Eisner Award–winning artist Doug TenNapel (12:30–1 p.m.), author of Cardboard (Graphix). On Monday, June 25, there's an interview with bestselling author/illustrator Raina Telgemeier (10:30–11 a.m.), whose new title, Drama (Scholastic), pubs in September.
Buzz, and Beyond
Always popular at ALA are the Book Buzz events, where library marketing representatives from various publishers highlight their forthcoming titles for the eagerly awaiting librarians. This year, in response to publisher requests (and a successful inaugural gathering during the 2012 Midwinter conference in Dallas), ALA has agreed to sponsor multiple publishers at the Book Buzz Theater, as well as separate Book Buzz presentations; please refer to the official convention schedule for details.
And there are plenty more author signings and other appearances on the show floor. Be sure to check PW's selected picks by day for highlights..
Authors @ ALA
Author Picks by Day
In addition to scheduled programs, hundreds of authors in all genres will be at ALA, many signing books and greeting librarians in the Exhibit Hall. PW is delighted to offer some picks and highlights, organized by date and time. All appearances are subject to change, however, so please refer to the official ALA event schedule for final details.
FRIDAY, JUNE 22
5:30–6:30 p.m.: Michael Buckley, author, and Dan Santat, illustrator. Buckley's first picture book, Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show (Abrams Books, booth 2449), features a young protagonist who encourages kids to laugh at their fears and celebrate the bravery it takes to try new things.
5:30–6:30 p.m.: Jonathan Friesen. In Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace (Zondervan, booth 2565), Chloe and Nick, two scarred teens, form a rocky friendship over their love of films.
5:30–6:30 p.m.: Cynthia Kadohata. Kira-Kira (Simon & Schuster, booth 2600) is Kadohata's Newbery-winning debut. PW's starred review said, "The family's devotion to one another, and Lynn's ability to teach Katie to appreciate the ‘kira-kira,' or glittering, in everyday life makes this novel shine."
5:30–6:30 p.m.: Jackson Pearce. Author of Sweetly, Sisters Red, and Purity (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, booth 2401), Pearce "began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn't tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic."
5:30–7 p.m.: Deborah Coonts. So Damn Lucky (Macmillan Adult, booth 2544) follows six-foot-tall, multitalented beauty Lucky, head of customer relations at Las Vegas's posh Babylon Hotel. PW thought "[f]ans of lighter mysteries will have fun."
5:30–7 p.m.: Mignon Fogarty. Her New York Times bestselling title is Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Macmillan Adult, booth 2544).
6–7 p.m.: Katherine Applegate. The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins Children's Books, booths 2558) is inspired by a true story; PW called it "a haunting tale told from the perspective of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who has been confined to a small ‘domain' of concrete, metal, and glass for 27 years." Also at the booth at that time is Rae Carson, whose debut, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, earned a starred review from PW: "a smart, complex fantasy with stellar characters, first in a planned trilogy."
6:30–7 p.m.: Tom Angleberger. Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O'Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind (Abrams Books, booth 2449) is the latest in Angleberger's Origami Yoda series.
6:30–7 p.m.: Matthew Cordell. PW's review says "Cordell's goofy line drawings of Davy the sheep and his dozen copycat younger brothers provide an entertaining counterpoint to his poker-faced narrative." Also at the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group booth (2534) at that time is Julie Halpern, author of Have a Nice Day, which follows Anna Bloom, just back from a three-week stay in a mental hospital.
SATURDAY, JUNE 23
9 a.m.–5 p.m.: Michael Haas. Mr. Calm and Effective: Evaluating the Presidency of Barack Obama (Publishinghouse for Scholars, booth 2751) is the 47th book from the political scientist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.
9–10 a.m.: Maureen Doyle McQuerry. The Peculiars (Abrams Books, booth 2449) features a decisive 18-year-old Lena Mattacascar, whose journey "has a youthful air of fantasy," according to PW.
9:30–10:30 a.m.: Mo Willems. Bestselling author/illustrator of I Broke My Trunk! and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Disney-Hyperion, booth 2463), his latest Pigeon title.
10–11 a.m.: J. Patrick Lewis. The poet reimagines classic poems and adds a dash of math in Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, booth 2310).
10–11 a.m.: Patricia McKissack. Never Forgotten (Perma-Bound Books, booth 2607), about a Malian boy abducted and sold into slavery, received the 2012 Coretta Scott King Honor. PW's starred review declared, "The willingness to turn the dark history of the past into literature takes not just talent but courage. McKissack has both."
10–11 a.m.: Jon Scieszka. Guys Read: Thriller (HarperCollins Children's Books, booth 2558), the second volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading, serves up mystery, intrigue, and nefarious activity.
10:30–11 a.m.: Kyczy Hawk. The yoga teacher's first book, Yoga and the Twelve-Step Path (Consortium, booth 2567), is based on her yoga classes designed for people recovering from addictions.
11 a.m.–noon: Chris Raschka will be signing the 2012 Caldecott winner A Ball for Daisy (Random House Children's Books, booth 2511), which PW found "gentle, dreamlike."
1–1:30 p.m.: Tewodros Fekadu. No One's Son: The Remarkable True Story of a Defiant African Boy and His Bold Quest for Freedom (Consortium, booth 2567) is a tale of defiance, triumph, and family love.
1–2 p.m.: Kendare Blake. Anna Dressed in Blood (Tor, booth 2540) was named a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, and a YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection.
1–2 p.m.: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Chaos (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, booth 2401) is the latest in the Beautiful Creatures series.
1:30–2 p.m.: Todd Shimoda and L.J.C. Shimoda. Husband and wife, author and illustrator, respectively, of Subduction (Consortium, booth 2567), a mystery set on a tiny, earthquake-plagued island.
1:30–2:30 p.m.: Joan Lester. Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong (Zondervan, booth 2565) is Lester's debut YA novel. A PW starred review said, "Lester writes with social sensitivity and an ear for teen language and concerns."
2:30–3:30 p.m.: Nancy I. Sanders. In Frederick Douglass for Kids: His Life and Times, with 21 Activities (IPG/Chicago Review Press, booth 2658), readers can form a debating club, cook a meal similar to the one Douglass shared with John Brown, make a Civil War haversack, participate in a micro-lending program, and more.
3–3:30 p.m.: Janet Nichols Lynch. The author's Racing California (Holiday House, booth 2550) is a YA novel about a gifted athlete who surprises everyone, especially himself, with his climbing skills.
3:30–4:30 p.m.: Sherman Alexie. The forthcoming Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories (Grove/Atlantic, booth 2566) combines 15 classics with 15 new stories.
3:30–4:30 p.m.: Larry Dane Brimner. Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor (Boyds Mills Press, booth 2435) is a 2012 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.
4–5 p.m.: Nathan Hale. Author/illustrator of the nonfiction Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales graphic novel series, his Big Bad Ironclad and One Dangerous Spy (Abrams Books, booth 2449) are both out in August.
4–5 p.m.: Ginger Wadsworth. First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, booth 2310) is out in time for the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts this year, as well as with Low being posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24
9–10 a.m.: Susanna Reich. Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat (Abrams, booth 2449) is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Child's birth and introduces the chef to a new audience of young readers through the story of her spirited cat, Minette.
11 a.m.–noon: Blake Charlton. Spellwright (Tor, booth 2540) introduces a young, gifted, dyslexic wizard who is unable to cast spells because they must be written out.
11 a.m.–noon: Alan Downs. The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World (Perseus, booth 2476) draws on contemporary research, the therapist author's own struggle with shame and anger, and stories from his patients.
11 a.m.–noon: Susan Rubin. Jean Lafitte: The Pirate Who Saved America (Abrams, booth 2449) is a biography of the Jewish pirate. PW's starred review said, "Readers will be captivated by this exciting story of a little known privateer."
1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: Ken Baker. The E! Channel's chief news correspondent mined his inside knowledge to craft Fan Girl (Perseus, booth 2476), a novel about the teen pop idol experience.
1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.: Eric Devine. In Tap Out (Perseus, booth 2476), a 17-year-old trailer park resident dreams of rescuing his mother from her constant stream of abusive boyfriends.
2:30–3 p.m.: Joel Engel. In L.A. '56: A Devil in the City of Angels (Macmillan, booth 2544), the growing black population is expected to keep to South Central; white cops are encouraged to deal out harsh street justice; and a devil weaves his way through the shadows.
3–4 p.m.: Jenny Hubbard. (Random House Children's Books, booth 2511). PW's starred review calls Paper Covers Rock an "eloquent first novel set in 1982 at an all-male boarding school that explores circumstances surrounding the accidental death of a student."
3–4 p.m.: Barney Saltzberg. Andrew Drew and Drew (Abrams, booth 2449) is an interactive boy-meets-pencil story filled with lift-the-flaps.
4–5 p.m.: Francesca Lia Block. Winner of the ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award, Block offers The Elementals (Macmillan, booth 2544), an adult novel about a student, haunted by the disappearance of a friend, who must face the truth.
4–5 p.m.: Kazu Kibuishi. Explorer: The Mystery Boxes (Abrams, booth 2449) sets seven short graphic works around the theme of a mysterious box and the marvels—or mayhem—inside.
MONDAY, JUNE 25
9–10 a.m.: Daniel Handler, author, and Maira Kalman, illustrator. Why We Broke Up (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, booth 2401) is a book-length breakup letter from Min (short for Minerva) to her ex-boyfriend, Ed.
9–10:30 a.m.: Jack Gantos. Dead End in Norvelt (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, booth 2534) is a 2012 Newbery Award winner. From PW's starred review: "A bit of autobiography works its way into all of Gantos's work, but he one-ups himself in this wildly entertaining meld of truth and fiction by naming the main character... Jackie Gantos."
9:30–10:30 a.m.: Thanhha Lai. Inside Out and Back Again (HarperCollins Children's Books, booth 2559). PW's starred review considered the book "[a]n incisive portrait of human resilience."
9:30–10:30 a.m.: Picture book author/illustrator Eugene Yelchin. Breaking Stalin's Nose (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, booth 2534) is a 2012 Newbery Honor book that PW found "an impressive middle-grade debut."
10–10:30 a.m.: Lee Wardlaw. Red, White, and Boom! (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, booth 2534). PW's starred review says the book is "a remarkably unified effort: everything works together to create a flawless picture book."
10–11 a.m.: Joan Bauer. Close to Famous (Penguin Young Readers Group, booth 2616). PW calls it a "heartwarming novel about a determined girl who faces adversity with humor, heart—and cupcakes."
10–11 a.m.: Katherine Grace Bond. Her YA novel Summer of No Regrets (Sourcebooks, booth 2352) ponders: what happens if you fall in love with a lie?
10–11 a.m.: Deb Caletti. The National Book Award finalist looks at love and family in her ninth novel, The Story of Us (Simon & Schuster, booth 2600), which PW called "a rewarding story of a girl's struggle to live and love in a world of constant change."
10–11 a.m.: Christine Hinwood. The author's debut, The Returning (Penguin Young Readers Group, booth 2616), is a 2012 Michael L. Printz award honor book in which sisters, sons, friends, parents, and lovers are left to deal with the subtle aftermaths and unimagined repercussions of war.
10–11 a.m.: Eleanor Kuhns, career librarian and 2011 winner of Mystery Writers of America/Minotaur Books First Crime Novel Competition. PW called her first novel, A Simple Murder (Macmillan, booth 2544), a "quiet, well-crafted debut."
10–11 a.m.: Ruta Sepetys. Between Shades of Gray (Children's Plus, booth 2667) tells the story of Lithuanians deported and sent to Siberian work camps by Stalin during WWII.
10:30–11:30 a.m.: Lane Smith. Grandpa Green (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, booth TKTK) is a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book that PW found "a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side—as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart."
11 a.m.–noon: Selden Edwards. The Lost Prince (Penguin, booth 2610) will pub in August, a sequel to his bestselling novel The Little Book.
11:30 a.m.–noon: Adam Mansbach. Seriously, Just Go to Sleep (Consortium, booth 2567) is a recasting of 2011's Go the F**k to Sleep for wider audiences.
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Scott Hutchins. A Working Theory of Love (Penguin, booth 2610) is a debut novel that witnesses an odyssey of love, grief, and reconciliation.
On June 24, ALA, along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will announce the winners of the first Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. This is the first time that the ALA, which sponsors the prestigious Youth Media Awards, including the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals for children's literature, is offering single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction. The finalists and eventual winners are chosen by library professionals and are awarded for the previous year. Along with a medal to be awarded at the ALA's annual conference in Anaheim, Calif., each winning author will receive $5,000, and four additional finalists will each receive $1,500.
For nonfiction, this year's finalists include: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie (Random House), The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick (Pantheon), Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (Viking). And in fiction, finalists include: The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton), Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks (Ecco) Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (Knopf)
ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash with the Rock Bottom Remainders
Authors abound at ALA—but consider the sheer number of books sold in one room when the literary supergroup Rock Bottom Remainders hits the stage on Saturday, June 23, 8–10 p.m., at the Anaheim Convention Center Auditorium.
This is a ticketed event, but your $25 goes to a great cause—providing scholarships for graduate students in library and information studies. And according to the history books, Anaheim is where the Rock Bottom Remainders played its first concert 20 years ago—for the 1992 American Booksellers Association convention.
In alphabetical order, here are the "Remainders" scheduled to perform at the Scholarship Bash: Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Sam Barry, Roy Blount Jr., Kathi Goldmark, Matt Groening, Greg Iles, Stephen King, James McBride, Ridley Pearson, Amy Tan, and Scott Turow. And if that isn't enough, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds is set to pop in for a jam.
"We love the ALA, and we love librarians," gushes Dave Barry, co-lead guitarist, "so much that, for this performance, we're going to try to actually learn the songs before we play them."