ALA Midwinter!

At the end of January, I attended the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.  ALA events are always such fun, invigorating celebrations of books and libraries.  It was an added bonus that it was located in Seattle and gave me an excuse to visit for the first time!  I completely fell in love with this beautiful city.  

Highlights of the weekend included: 
So much literary greatness in one place!
  • Little Brown dinner at  Dahlia Lounge with authors Cat Patrick, Justina Chen, Sean Beaudion, and Suzanne Selfors
  • Penguin dinner at Anchovies & Olives with authors Ruta Sepetys, Gayle Forman, Lisa Graff, and Gordon Dahlquist
  • Macmillan, Disney Hyperion, and Boyds Mills Press preview events showcasing their upcoming releases  
  • Random House Newbery panel featuring Christopher Paul Curtis, Kirby Larson, Jennifer L. Holm, Louis Sachar, Jerry Spinelli, Rebecca Stead, and Clare Vanderpool moderated by celebrity librarian Nancy Pearl at the Seattle Public Library - an all-star lineup at a perfect location.  What an event!  
The announcement of the Youth Media Awards happens on the Monday morning of the conference and is always an amazing experience.  Anticipation!  Excitement!  The room is a buzz! 
This year I was thrilled with the committees' decisions.  I adore illustrator Jon Klassen and love that he earned both a Caldecott honor (Extra Yarn) and the medal (This is Not My Hat)!  When the Newbery Medal was announced - The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - the crowd went wild!... all so excited that such a beautifully written story that truly appeals to readers won the big prize! 

My only disappointment was that The Fault in Our Stars by John Green did not receive recognition by the Printz Committee.  After receiving so many (well-deserved!) starred reviews and resonating with so many teen (and adult!) readers, I felt it should have been named among the Committee's awards.  I was glad it did earn the Odyssey Medal for outstanding audiobook which it definitely deserved as 

I must mention Jack Martin ... he is the president of YALSA and an absolute hoot.  As president, he announced all of the YALSA literary awards.  The early morning crowd was in for a treat when he approached the podium!  His announcements were hilarious ... full of pizazz and personality.  He sent "love bombs" to the crowd, and we all sent them right back!  Bravo, Jack, for a job well done.   

I was able to sneak off from the conference one day to enjoy a glimpse of the city.  I ventured down to the famous Pike Place Market which completely lived up to its reputation ... fresh fish, flowers, everything!  .... amazing places to eat ... darling shops... it's a feast for the eyes!  I must go back to take in more someday, but loved the bit I saw.  

Looking for a bite of lunch, I discovered a delicious restaurant called Matt's in the Market.  What a find!  The cozy restaurant overlooks the market and the bay and serves the most fabulous food.  I ate  at the bar, so I could be served by the renowned bartender Robbie.  He was a delight!  If I lived in Seattle, this would definitely be a weekly ritual!  If you are planning a visit to this city, be sure to add this restaurant to your list.  Make a reservation for the bar so you can enjoy some time with Robbie while enjoying your delicious eats.

It was a great weekend with friends, old and new.  Thanks to all the publishers for including me in the fun events and for sharing their exciting new ARCs.  My bedside table is now overflowing!  Now, I just need a month off to catch up on all this reading.  :)   

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