Last month I made my very first trip to Washington D.C. for the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference. Not only did this visit offer up-close views of many of our nation’s most impressive landmarks, but it also afforded opportunities to attend some exciting children’s lit events.
First, just for fun -- who could resist this photo op? One Washington D.C. gift shop has a mock-up of the Oval Office where visitors can pose, appearing very presidential. I felt as if I’d just stepped into the cover of my book, If I Were President.
On Friday, June 25, the wonderful people of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Mid-Atlantic chapter hosted a fun ALA Kid Lit Drink Night at a local meeting place, the R.F.D. Washington. SCBWI members, editors, writers, illustrators, librarians -- in fact, anyone interested in children’s literature -- had the chance to mingle at this evening event. Such a great idea!
Publishers Albert Whitman and Company invited their authors to join staff members for a get-together on Saturday, June 26. We took a brisk walk to the White House for this memorable picture (Alison Formento, Josalyn Moran, Margaret Read McDonald, Dori Butler, Margaret Coffee and me). Publishers Weekly even featured a photo just like it on their website’s slideshow of ALA. For a peek, visit http://tiny.cc/amkna
On Sunday, June 27, I had the honor of conducting a book signing at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for my two presidential themed picture books, If I Were President and If I Ran for President. What a treat to meet people from all over the country! The museum’s impressive collection includes the Inaugural Ball Gowns of our First Ladies, Lincoln’s top hat and the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem that became our National Anthem.
An author I truly admire, Kay Winters, had a book signing at the museum that day, too, for her books, Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books and Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak. I first met Kay at a Highlights Workshop in Honesdale, Pennsylvania awhile back and it was so nice to be reacquainted with this lovely lady.
Finally, on Monday, June 28, I made my way to ALA, a huge, inspiring, book-filled event! Albert Whitman and Company made me feel most welcome at a book signing at their booth.
During this quick trip, we also fit in some family sight-seeing and lunch with an awesome librarian friend I don’t get to see nearly often enough.
While it was ALA that led us to head to Washington D.C. this summer, the time spent with family and friends, the wealth of history, the abundance of literary events -- and the World Cup playing on big screens in establishments throughout the district -- all contributed to a most unforgettable visit to our nation’s capital. So glad I headed to D.C.!