The American Booksellers Association’s sixth Children’s Institute, which was held in New Orleans from June 19–21, brought together more than 300 booksellers—including 187 first-timers—from 36 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Australia. While the days were packed with educational programming, the evenings featured costume and trivia contests, author signings, and other chances to connect with colleagues. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the conference.

Children’s Institute gets off to a “terrific” start, as indicated by the Charlotte’s Web costume designed and worn by Kathy Ellen Davis of Hicklebee’s in San Jose, Calif., at the opening Mardi Gras and Backlist Favorite Kids’ Book Character Costume party. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Chelsea Clinton waves goodbye following her June 21 morning keynote. Photo: Judith Rosen.

(From l.): Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, co-editors of We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, joined Phoebe Yeh, v-p and publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers, and author Kwame Alexander in conversation about their forthcoming anthology. Cheryl Willis Hudson said her hope is that the book shows young readers that “you can lift your voice, you can change the world.” Photo: Emma Kantor.

Author Mallika Chopra delivers the opening keynote on her guide to using yoga and meditation to increase happiness—techniques she learned as a child from her father, New Age guru Deepak Chopra. Photo: American Booksellers Association.

Chalkboard workshop students (from l.) Broche Fabian of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C.; Clarissa Murphy of the MIT Press Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass.; and Karen Kettells of Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. Photo: Judith Rosen.

PW scholarship recipients Amanda Hurley of Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Ivan Smith of the soon-to-open Wishing Well Books in Spokane, Wash. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Inventor and autism activist Temple Grandin discussing her new book, Calling All Minds. “What is a common denominator of unique minds? Growing up with lots and lots of books,” she says. Photo: Emma Kantor.

Candlewick authors Jennifer Richard Jacobson and David Ezra Stein signing copies of The Dollar Kids and Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise, Stein’s follow-up to his Caldecott Honor-winning Interrupting Chicken. The little red chicken fans in the foreground came in handy in the New Orleans heat.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher with Jessica Hahl (l.) of Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont., and Louise Marshall of Rakestraw Books in Danville, Calif., who had A Bad Case of Stripes. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Author Andrea Beaty (l.) meets a bookseller dressed as Ada Twist.

Booksellers (from l.) Morgan McCullough of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Oh.; Rebekah Shoaf of Boogie Down Books in Bronx, N.Y.; and Heidi Baikie of Books Inc. in San Francisco. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Books here! Publishers hold up books by featured writers during the author reception. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Friends and co-authors of The Darkdeep, Ally Condie and Brendan Reichs. Photo: Judith Rosen.

(From l.): Ellen Richmond of Children’s Book Cellar in Waterville, Maine; Ellen Mager of Booktenders’ Secret Garden Children’s Bookstore and Gallery in Doylestown, Pa.; and Trish Brown of One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., on the Riverwalk in front of the NOLA 300 sign. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Author Jacob Kramer and illustrator K-Fai Steele, creators of Noodlephant.

Presenting the winners of the kidlit costume contest. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Author Mélina Mangal signs copies of her picture book, The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just.

Fellow Australians and authors Rachel Noble (Finn’s Feather) and Andy Griffiths (the Treehouse series).

The Poky Little Puppy stops by CI6.

The Fan brothers, Eric (l.) and Terry, signing copies of their latest picture book, Ocean Meets Sky.

Author Daniel José Older discusses his upcoming middle grade series, Dactyl Hill Squad, during the “Power of Story” event hosted by Scholastic.

Greg van Eekhout, author of Voyage of the Dogs, and Tahereh Mafi, author of A Very Large Expanse of Sea.

Vera Brosgol signs copies of her new graphic memoir, Be Prepared. Photo: Emma Kantor.

David Barclay Moore (The Stars Beneath Our Feet) with Riley Jay Davis of Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minn. Photo: Judith Rosen.

J.C. Cervantes (l.) (The Storm Runner) with Leslie C. Youngblood (Love Like Sky).

(From l.): Shelbee King and Sara Harjo of Best of Books in Edmond, Okla., with Jonathan Auxier, author of Sweep. Photo: Judith Rosen.

Closing keynote speaker Angie Thomas signs copies of The Hate U Give. Photo: Judith Rosen.