Summer Roundup: ALA Conference, Classes, More

The summer has gone by in a flash, but here's a recap of the American Library Association (ALA) convention in Orlando and other kid lit activities that kept me busy.

ALA Convention

The ALA Convention was a dream come true as a debut author. Lee & Low Books invited me to join their line up of authors signing books, so I headed to Orlando for a weekend in late June with my older daughter. Not only was it thrilling to sign my book, but I got to meet so many kidlit friends and idols walking around the convention center. Some memories:

It was so official. My photo with all these amazing Lee & Low authors.

My author signing table

New friends and kid lit luminaries (l-r) : Marsha Diane Arnold, Katy Duffield, Lane Smith, Jen Swanson, Minh Le, Dan Santat, Kathryn Otoshi, Kwame Alexander, Miranda Paul.

Picture Book Writing Class at The Muse Writing Center

This summer I taught a 6-session picture book writing class at The Muse, a great local writing center where I've taken many workshops over the past few years. It was really fun to consolidate everything I knew about picture book writing and to work with talented students.

Workshops and Webinars on Author Platform Building

This summer I also gave a workshop and did a joint webinar with my Kidlit411 partner in crime, Elaine Kiely Kearns for the SCBWI on social media and platform building. The in person workshop was part of a series of local Tidewater SCBWI events that Vanessa Barger and I have organized on a monthly basis for our area, and the webinar was presented by the Texas SCBWI.

Elaine and I talked about our experience building Kidilt411 from an idea to a well-respected kid lit resource website in 2.5 half years. Some cool milestones: 3400 Facebook members in our group; over 430,000 page views; and we've been listed on a number of "Best of" lists, including Writer's Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2015 and 2016.

Summer Fun

Along the way, our family had great fun. My daughters went to camp, we went to a lot of softball games, and had some fun family outings. But most of all, it was a summer of beautiful sunsets:

My local supermarket in June
Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, VA 

Salem Fair, July 4th weekend
Salem Fiar

Burlington, VT has the best sunsets I've seen
Five cousins on the shores of Lake Burlington, VT

Onward and Upward

Now that the girls are back at school, I've got time to devote myself again to writing and illustrating. What projects are you working on? Leave a comment!