Authors and illustrators descended on Washington, D.C., from June 20–25 for the American Library Association’s annual conference. We asked some of children’s literature’s top talent for their tips on how to make the most of a demanding weekend of meeting and greeting.
Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina (Merci Suarez Changes Gears, Candlewick) says it’s all about the shoes—a comfortable pair are a necessity for all that standing around and those long walks around the exhibit floor. It helps if they are stylish, too.
Comfortable clothes were the order of the day for Minh Lê (l.), who signed copies of Drawn Together (Disney-Hyperion) along with the book’s illustrator, Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat. Le’s tracksuit was “a bit of cosplay,” Santat said. He dressed as Jason from the TV series The Good Place. Okaaaaaaay…..
Many authors say their favorite part of every convention is reconnecting with fellow writers. Christopher Paul Curtis (l.) and Kwame Alexander caught up between signings.
Others mentioned it was important to get exercise. Laurie Halse Anderson goes for a long walk (in search of coffee) as soon as she wakes up, and brags about the buff bicep she has developed from signing autographs (right bicep only, though; “the other one is like a cupcake”).
Illustrator Christian Robinson does yoga before he heads to the convention center each day. Here, he showed us his warrior pose.
Mark Oshiro (Anger Is a Gift, Tor Teen) works out at the hotel gym before he leaves for the convention center. He also advises conference-goers to be sure to eat throughout the day to keep up your stamina—demonstrating his methods here with a blueberry muffin.
Kate DiCamillo (r.) does her calisthenics at the venue, here performing leaps with Castleton, N.Y., school librarian Stacy Rattner.
Jon Scieszka does nothing. “No exercise, no hydrating, just drinking in all the love,” he said. The only thing he does to get ready is to practice taking a fake emergency phone call, in case he sees an editor coming his way to whom he owes a manuscript or revisions. “I make sure I know where all the pillars are in case I need to hide.”