Back from L.A.

It's been such a busy summer! I've just returned from the lovely wedding of children's book editor Alvina Ling. Here I am with the gorgeous bride and author/illustrator friend Grace Lin (fellow Blue Rose Girls):

We rented this cute house in Venice Beach for the weekend:

From there we explored the area a bit, including the beach in Santa Monica, where Tilly saw shells for the first time:

It was a whirlwind trip, ending with a book signing at Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach. Here we are with our lovely host:

Thanks for the great time L.A! Now back to summer here in Happy Valley. Next up: blueberry picking and a trip to the cape!

Cupcakes and baby feet

Some of us Blue Rose Girls got together this weekend to celebrate a number of birthdays, discuss books and publishing, and eat cupcakes prepared by guess who. This batch of chocolate gluten-free were delicious. It was so lovely to revive our weekend traditions (it has been a full year since I was able to attend a gathering since I was away). Thank you ladies!

This year there were some new attendees, my Tilda and Juniper (daughter of the über-talented Alissa Imre Geis). Juniper has bigger feet, but I believe Tilda has chunkier knees.

All things blue rose

This weekend some of us Blue Rose Girls got together to do some celebrating. There was a lot to celebrate... birthdays for Libby and Alvina, Grace finishing the first draft of her new novel, and my little BRG baby on the way.

There were of course blue rose cupcakes created by Grace:

And blue flowers on the table:

Baby on the way was given the most adorable little blue rose outfit, complete with headband (!):

Then we went out to do some shopping. I've been wanting to make a mobile to go over the baby's crib, something like this (pic via Greyhood):

When we were out and about Libby, Grace and I spotted these lovely Vietnamese "prosperity hens":

Aren't they sweet? We all got some to hang around the house. I am working on how to convert mine into a mobile...

AlA recap

It was a great weekend at ALA! I only wish I could have squeezed in some signings and chatted with more folks, I think the heat might have melted my brain a little and slowed me down. Also being pregnant I was a little less mobile than usual.

Anyways, my ALA weekend started at a Random House cocktail party at the Newseum. My publisher was celebrating the launch of the Cat in the Hat PBS show, and hosted a lovely party (complete with Thing 1 and Thing 2 cocktails) up on the rooftop below. We only stepped out on the deck for a few minutes as it was 100 degrees, but I did get these shots...

Then is was off to a lovely celebration dinner with Grace and company.

Sunday I visited the convention center and strolled along the isles looking at all the publisher's displays. Then in the evening headed back to Libby and Alvina's hotel to change for the banquet, which Grace so generously gave us all tickets to. Choosing my outfit was less about finding the perfect dress and more about finding something appropriate that would fit over my belly, but I managed with a very stretchy dress I bought on Etsy.

I didn't take as many pictures as I should have, but I did get this one of the beautiful programs, filled with art from The Lion & the Mouse.

This is the banquet hall, SO big.

When they called Grace's name we all got up and cheered! She looked gorgeous with a glowing smile on her face. Such a perfect moment.

Then came Jerry Pinkney's speech, throughout which he had an irrepressible grin. I loved that he has his whole family stand up to be cheered for (librarians sure know how to hoot and holler!).

I found Rebecca Stead's speech incredibly moving. She divided it into four parts... how she became a writer, found the courage to keep working on her novel then accept the attention it brought, then ended with all the ways in which she is grateful. It was so humble and relatable. Especially the part where she talked about always fearing the moment when people sung her happy birthday and were all staring at her... she said winning the award felt like a million happy birthdays, but she loved it!

Here is me, Libby, and Elaine at our table. Again, I wish I had taken more pictures, but hopefully other people's posts (there are a number on BRG here, here, and here) will fill in where mine leaves off. Congratulations Grace and all the winners!

Back from ALA

Home at last after a busy week of travel! I'll have more to post soon from my trip to DC for ALA, but for now a picture of us Blue Rose Girls at the Caldecott/Newbery awards banquet. We all stood up and cheered as Grace accepted her well deserved honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon!

From left to right: me (and my 5 month pregnant belly), Libby Koponen, Grace Lin, Meghan McCarthy, Alvina Ling, Elaine Magliaro.

BRG Weekend

This weekend some of us BRG met up in Libby's new place in Stonington, CT, a small coastal village with water on three sides. The town looks like it comes right out of a children's novel with its sweet little manicured gardens, historic houses from the 1700's, and city center with an old church whose bell rings to mark every hour. Alvina will have better pictures (as is usually the case), but I got a couple on a walk by the water:

We ate gelato and sang happy birthday to Grace and wandered along crooked rock walls. A nice break from painting to say the least. Some topics discussed:

*If you could wish for any other author or illustrator or editor's career, whose would it be (that is who has a path you relate to and hope for)?

*What are the differences between a chapter book and a middle grade novel?

*Do most writers have just a small number of truly great books in them? Does it matter?

What do you think?