readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Texan Librarians Throw BIG Conferences!

Justina, reporting in on the Texas Librarian Association conference...

All I can say is that Texan Librarians sure know how to make an author feel welcome. Yes, ma'am!

After spending 3 days in Houston at the legendary Texas Librarian Association with two of the other readergirlz co-founders (Dia Calhoun and Lorie Ann Grover), let me just say, I looooove Texans as much as I missed our other divas (Holly Cupala and Melissa Walker).

My Personal Trip Highlights in no particular order. (I can't wait to hear Lorie Ann and Dia weigh in on their top moments!)

1. Toiling late at night with the divas on getting our swag bags ready for our presentation on Making Literacy Hip + Relevant for Teens. (This brought back memories of the early days where I spent hours upon hours hand-cutting and crafting hundreds of goody bags for various readergirlz events...)

2. Kibbitzing with amazing YA authors, including Meg Cabot,

Sara Zarr, Ally Carter, Justine Larbalestier, Margo Rabb, John Green, Scott Westerfeld (ooohhh...confirmed a readergirlz feature month with him!)--it was a veritable readergirlz reunion...LIVE! And then to top it off, I met some of the Brown Bookshelf co-founders! THAT was a thrill. My fleeting glimpse of Cynthia Leitich Smith made me so mad at myself for not snagging some time with her for a coffee. Next time.

3. Meeting the incredible editor-visionary Sharyn November! In person! I literally squealed. Vaguely embarrassing. Dia and Lorie Ann were more refined in their fangirling.

4. Oh! Oh! MAJOR highlight: Hanging out with my marvelous Little, Brown peeps--Victoria Stapleton and Zoe Luderitz (amazing library marketing dynamic duo), Kate Sullivan (watch for ASH!), and at last meeting Rachel Wasdyke (I teared up! She's my publicist!!).

I wish I had taken a photo of Victoria's sassy, HIGH patent heels. Oh, my! I had the honor of meeting Justin Somper (VAMPIRATES--also proud wearer of the most rocking pair of men's shoes I've seen. Ever.) and Svetlana (graphic novelist).

5. Meeting every single one of the Texan powerhouses...like Professor Nana (my hero and the woman who kicked my behind to get readergirlz off the ground) and what must have been the entire TAYSHAS braintrust. You ladies are truly amazing.

6. All the teens and librarians who stood in line for me to sign my books. Wow, that's all I can say, WOW. Thank you.

7. Meeting with Loreine Roy(past president of ALA) and Beth Yoke (executive director of YALSA).

8. Spending a wonderful evening at the YART dinner with my dining companions. I now have a list of must-read Latina authors, which I am absolutely psyched about!

9. Walking the showroom floor and being absolutely wowed by the number of fantastic books I still have yet to read and showcase on readergirlz!

10. Looking out at a ballroom filled with librarians who rocked with readergirlz at our presentation... WHY, oh WHY, did I start to cry when the video trailers for Operation TBD rolled? Holly has done a spectacular job with them, for sure! But I also think it's because we at readergirlz move so fast from project to project that we don't celebrate enough!

AND that is what Texans know how to do: celebrate. In style.

Any time I get an invite to go to a book event in Texas where there will be librarians? I will so be there. Yes, Ma'am!

~Justina, a tired readergirlz diva


Anonymous said...

i guess that was lots of fun taking pictures with cool authors

Erin said...

I lurv all of your outfits! :)

Erika Powell said...

wow, everyone looked fabulous and it looked like so much fun. kinda wish I lived in Texas right now!

Ally Carter said...

Hello oh fabulous ones!

It was so great finally meeting all of you (in person)! I agree--TLA is a sight to behold, and I can't remember the last time I felt more welcome.

Take care and keep up the amazing work!


Melissa Walker said...

Oh, TLA! Sounds like a blast!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Oh, my! IT WAS AMAZING! I'll report in soon. I just had a board book idea I must get down first! It woke me at 6:00 am!

*waves to Ally* She is a sweetheart, everyone! Truly!

Little Willow said...

Looks like you all had fun!

Unknown said...

YAY! Thanks for loving my home so much :D hehe

holly cupala said...

What a fantastic conference - wish I could have been there! Thank you for sharing all of the wonderful moments!

Laura said...

Hi Justina--
I was one of those librarians at our presentation and stood in line to get your books signed! I am reading North of Beautiful and I LOVE IT! I am going to miss Terra when I finish tonight. Don't tell John Green, but you have surpassed him as my fav YA.

Justina Chen said...

LAURA: Thank you! I think that's just about the nicest thing I've heard all month. Maybe all year!

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