Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Fun of School Visits (or: What Happens When You Leave the Bouchercon Conference Hotel)

I'm back from Bouchercon 2014! For those of you unfamiliar, Bouchercon is an annual mystery fan conference, a big one. This year it was in Long Beach, CA. So I got to escape the snow for just a few days (this was my deck, with sub-zero temps...).

The organizers were kind enough to connect me to a local school librarian, who invited me for a school visit at Dooley Elementary. School visits are my favorite part of the job, because I get to talk to the kids--this time, the entire cafeteria was packed. I told them all about my books, and about how George Washington was a master spy during the Revolutionary War. That particular talk is always fun.

And another favorite part of my job is meeting school librarians. This is Sharon Dudka, librarian extraordinaire. Like most librarians I meet, she is smart, has a great positive attitude, and knows how to get kids reading on a shoestring budget. If you happen to be in a giving mood, donate a book to your local school library.

Afterward, I had a good talk about how amazing teachers are with my cab driver David. We agreed they should get more respect and get paid better.

After my morning school visit, I was on a very cool panel on YA Dystopian, where (thankfully) we also talked about middle-grade. The best part: listening to Michelle Gagnon, Joelle Charbonneau, Sophie Littlefield, and Alexandra Monir talk about YA, and how cool their fans are. Jess Lourey moderated awesomely, and we got interesting questions too. Good stuff. But I forgot to take pictures...

I saw Michael Connelly in the lobby, but was too shy to tell him I love his books. And then I met author friends, reviewers, booksellers, and other great people over fancy appetizers and desserts.

So that's my Bouchercon report. Next week, I'll report on my book bag, which was full of books I plan to read during the Thankfully Reading Thanksgiving weekend...

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