Sunday, April 15, 2007

Never Sign Near Mo And Other Conference Survival Tips

Ah, me. On the whole, the TLA convention was a blast, don't get me wrong, but watching (from my lonely author signing booth RIGHT NEXT DOOR) a long line of librarians waiting for Mo Willems was not so much fun. A score of sopranos squealed ecstatically when young Mr. Willems eventually appeared. Another one of Betsy Bird's Hot Men of Children's Literature, John Green, elicited a question during a YA author panel from a middle-aged woman who gushed embarrassingly about his cuteness. As E. Lockhart (Dramarama) commented when we commiserated over the young-guy-author-groupie-magnet factor, we are cute, too. Okay, she is cute, especially with that intricate Olde English tattoo fully encircling one buff upper arm.

I also got to chat with Kirby Larson of Hattie Big Sky fame (one of the three kind people in my author signing line), Cynthia Leitich Smith who wrote Tantalize (as generous with her Texas hug as she is with links and news on her famous blog), Esme Raji Codell (stylish, sweet, and smart in person and in print), and Copper Sun author Sharon Draper (who, on a hotel shuttle bus, passed on good advice about school visits and a lovely two-handed blessing she'd received years ago from Virginia Hamilton). The list goes on ... many other luminaries and celebrities were present, proving once again that Texas occupies a big, big place both in the country and in the world of children's literature.

Now I'm off to the 116th annual gathering of librarians in Connecticut, where author Joseph Bruchac is scheduled to provide the swoon factor.


  1. You are also cute! I know because I saw you in person (but unfortunately didn't have time to introduce myself while fending off questions about "that scene" in "Looking for Alaska").

    I've been hearing much buzz about "First Daughter." Congrats on it!


  2. I second John Green on the cuteness point. You, madam, are adorable. Honest-to-God. I've seen Mo, I've hugged John, and you're cuter than the two of them put together. If I ever do a Hot Women of Children's Literature, you're numero uno.

  3. Aw, thanks y'all, fuse and brotherhood. (Two days in the Lone Star State and my cleft palate's gone all country on me.)

  4. I share your pain. I had to sign next to Mo once. On the upside, I was able to eat (many) cookies while he had no time to do such a thing, as he was too busy autographing and drawing birds.

    Oh, and yes. John is cute.

  5. Hey, Mitali - you're as cute as you are geeky...not to worry. And I feel your pain on the booksigning thing. When I signed at TLA, I was next to KATE DeCAMILLO. I mean, come on. Her line was like Disneyworld - snaking all around and back and forth. But, hey, nobody said this biz is good for your ego, right?

    Now, go get yourself a tattoo. Go, shoo...

  6. Thanks, you cutie!
    Great to finally meet you.

  7. Too scared of pain to get a tattoo ... might go for mehndi on the palms, though. Lisa, I'd be loath to sign next to you, you rock star.

  8. Anonymous11:26 PM


    I'm guilty, too, of line envy on occasion but no one can write the stories you write. Rest on that, okay?

    Your new best bud, Kirby

    PS Honey, you are way cuter than Mo and John put together.

  9. Obviously I'm going to have to take a survey of the most ego-crushing moments in the writing vocation. It's been cathartic to share the pain.

  10. I would have screamed like a girl when you came out. Wait, I am a girl. I mean, I would have given you the adoration you deserved. Maybe at ALA I'll lead some kind of Mitali chant or bring a poster.

  11. Anonymous8:35 PM

    Do my students not let the pigeon drive the bus because mo is supposed to be cute?

  12. I once signed next to Jon Scieszka. Thanks a lot, effing alphabetical order!

  13. Yep, the a.o. puts me right next to Lynn Rae Perkins. Of course that means someone might mistakenly buy one of my books thinking that it was written by a Newbery-award-winning author. Sorry, Lynn, but the clan must stick together.

  14. AAaaaccckkkkkk!
    How did I miss you??? I was not organized enough this time.