Monday, October 22, 2007

Texas Library Association District III; Star-Lit: A Children's Literary Festival

I had the honor of offering a presentation to members of TLA District III (Austin area/Central Texas) Oct. 19 at the new Georgetown Public Library.

My talk featured: a brief introduction to my writing; the story behind the writing of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007); a reading of my latest picture book, Santa Knows, co-authored by Greg Leitich Smith, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman (Dutton, 2006); a brief Q&A period; and a book-talk giveaway of recent and autographed titles by District III-area authors.

Highlighted authors and titles included: Runaround by Helen Hemphill (Front Street, 2007)(author interview); My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson (Flux, 2007)(ARC); Brothers, Boyfriends & Other Criminal Minds by April Lurie (Delacorte, 2007)(author interview); The Silverskin Legacy trilogy (all three titles!) by Jo Whittemore (Llewellyn, 2006-2007)(author interview); Wonders of the World by Brian Yansky (Flux, 2007)(author interview); Alpha Dog by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, 2006)(author interview)(excerpt).

I also made available copies of a speaker's directory of published members of Austin SCBWI (thanks to both regional adviser Tim Crow and Julie Lake (author interview) for their behind-the-scenes help!).

Visiting the Georgetown Library was a treat. The design is marked by its natural light, generous meeting space, inviting children's book area (featuring imaginative and inspiring murals by Austin illustrator Tony Sansevero), and enormously innovative teen area (with booths, funky low chairs, display area, and more!).

My thanks to Karen and everyone at District III for their hospitality, enthusiasm, hard work, and for all they do for central Texas readers!

Star-Lit: A Children's Literary Festival was scheduled for the next day at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Plano, Texas. The event benefited the Dallas Bethlehem Center, and featured authors and illustrators included: Will Hillenbrand; Dee Scallan and Daniel Myers; Laura Numeroff; Bryan Collier; Kim Brown; Kimberly Willis Holt; Cynthia Leitich Smith; Greg Leitich Smith; and Tracy Dockray.

So, after visiting with TLA members, Greg and I continued north on I-35 to the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. That evening, our escort Hope brought us to the Star-Lit author reception at Dealey Plaza, where we visited the Sixth Floor Museum and then enjoyed first-rate barbecue.

The next day, we took part in the "Breakfast with the Authors" and then offered two presentations to standing-room-only crowds. Thanks to Hope, Jeff, and everyone at Star-Lit for a wonderful event! [Here's sending a special cheer to the Lamar Middle School Book Club--I loved the photos and card!] Please learn more about the Dallas Bethlehem Center.

For a more informal take on the weekend, check out "All Roads Lead to Plano" at Spookycyn.

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