4.19.2010

TLA in San Antonio: 2010

Another fantastic time with librarians and authors and publishers at Texas Library Association's Annual Convention. It was a rainy time in San Antonio, but you know librarians: they deal with whatever issue when it comes to books and their readers' literacy well-being. I got quite a few ARCs and FnGs of some very awesome stuff, hung out with some great people, and ate some good food.

One ARC I got and read and enjoyed immensely is Charlie Price's The Interrogation of Gabriel James, a pretty cool thriller told in alternating perspectives: one is in the form of an official police interrogation; the other is in the first person, past tense from Gabriel's POV. There's been two killings, and Gabriel finds himself smack dab in the middle of the investigation. What gets him there is either caring too much for people and trying to help, in spite of his reverse midas touch, where everything he touches goes to pot; or, his hyper-curiosity, which also leads to trouble. It's due out in August and it'll be a hit with young adult readers.

The prize FnG, for me, is Charles Smith's picture book titled Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson. The story of the first black heavy weight champion is awesome; there's references to his childhood, his youth, and his traveling around the world challenging the champion, who always blew him off, since blacks and whites didn't mix, even in the ring. The artwork is very cool, too, though the illustrator's name, at present, escapes me.

I got a chance to present on a pre-conference panel with Sarah Cortez (editor of HITLIST, a fantastic anthology of Latino/a mystery) and Ray Villarreal (author of Who's Buried in the Garden?). We were all overjoyed to see the hall full of librarians. It was also nice to sit and talk with Ray over hamburgers at the Fuddruckers and with Sarah at Arte Publico's booth. Also got a good chance to hang out with Diane Bertrand. Carmen Abrego also provided some great conversation. She knows the Arte Publico/Piñata Books list backwards and forwards. And on top of it all, she's hilarious.

Others I hung out with: Sonya Sones, Sara Pennypacker, Kadir Nelson, Chris Crutcher, and Matt de la Peña. It was nice to have that time with them (thanks Sonya and Sara for the get-together).

Also spent a good half hour or so with best South Texas friends and librarians, Albert and Patricia Ramos.

Adrienne and Tracy, as always, were super cool at the Random House booth.

And librarians: would that I had enough time and space and memory to name them all. They deserve it, though.

IRA next.