Though much of the focus at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Philadelphia, to be held Friday, January 24, to Tuesday, January 28, will understandably be on the Youth Media Awards—which will be announced on Monday at 8 a.m. in Ballroom AB at the Pennsylvania Convention Center—attendees won’t want to miss these other opportunities for learning more about books, authors, and best practices.
As its name suggests, Midwinter Meeting marks a time for ALA and its various divisions to hold committee and board meetings. Among the meetings open to Midwinter attendees are those of the 2020 Notable Children’s Books Committee (Friday, 1:30–4 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 109-AB), which will meet five times, and the 2020 Notable Children’s Recordings Committee (Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., 201 Philadelphia Downtown, Philadelphia Ballroom South), which is scheduled to meet three times. Attending one of these sessions provides a chance to observe the discussion of materials being considered for selection to the annual Notable Children’s Book and Notable Children’s Recordings lists. We’ve provided the initial meeting times here; please consult the ALA Midwinter website for a complete schedule.
When Stars Are Scattered: Refugees and Outstanding International Books
Friday, 8–10 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 113-A
The U.S. Board on Books for Youth will present its newest list of Outstanding International Books. During the session, authors Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed will preview their forthcoming middle grade graphic memoir, When Stars Are Scattered (Dial, Apr. 2020), which focuses on Mohamed’s experiences growing up with his nonverbal brother in a Somali refugee camp in Kenya.
Auditorium Speaker: Echo Brown
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 a.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Ballrooom AB
In her YA debut, Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard (Holt/Ottaviano, Jan. 2020), writer and performer Brown offers a tale sparked with magical realism and steeped in the circumstances of her own difficult childhood growing up in Cleveland, grappling with racism, sexual violence, and poverty. She will be talking about her life experiences and her entrée into the book world.
Young Changemakers in 21st Century Libraries
Saturday, 3–4 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 202-AB
Three librarians share their experiences as part of a project that included librarians from 10 Massachusetts schools and public libraries who came together to design training materials and learning modules for creating civic engagement with teens in a public library setting.
Happy Hour Book Buzz with Macmillan Library
Saturday, 4–5 p.m., Philadelphia Marriott, Grand G
YA titles from Flatiron and Wednesday Books will be part of this session in which the Macmillan library marketing team will spotlight favorite books from the adult imprints at Macmillan. Wine and beer will be served, making it a true happy hour.
Auditorium Speakers: Maia and Alex Shibutani
Sunday, 9:30–10:30 a.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Ballroom AB
Brother-and-sister ice-dancing U.S. champions and Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani, aka the ShibSibs, will share some of their personal stories as well as talk about their middle grade mystery book series Kudo Kids, which debuts in May 2020 with The Mystery of the Masked Medalist (Razorbill), coauthored by Michelle Schusterman, a tale set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
21st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration
Monday, 6:30–7:30 a.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Terrace II Ballroom
Attendees will hear selected passages from King’s works and a keynote address by Imani Perry, author and professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.
Closing Session: In Conversation with Chanel Miller
Monday, 2–3 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Ballroom AB
Miller was previously known publicly as Emily Doe, the survivor of a sexual assault on Stanford University’s campus perpetrated by Brock Turner, who was ultimately sentenced to only six months in county jail for his crime. Her victim impact statement, after being posted on BuzzFeed, went viral, subsequently inspiring changes in California law and the recall of the judge in her case. In her recent memoir, Know My Name (Viking), Miller writes about the trauma of her assault, the broken legal system that seems stacked against victims, and what it has taken for her to work through her ordeal.