Guys, I’ve found it. Nirvana for book-lovers. It’s called the ALAN Workshop, it was held this year in St. Louis, and I was invited to speak about Prince of Pot on a panel with the shockingly clever and wise Jennifer E. Smith, J.C. Geiger, and Shanetia Clark.
I’m quite sure I was incoherent, but who can blame me? LOOK at the size of this room:
There are 500 teachers at the workshop, all of whom receive a giant box of curated books, which they sort and re-sort in mysterious ways as the day progresses. Plus they seem to know everyone and everything related to YA literature.
But it’s impossible to be nervous (well, almost impossible), because everyone there is (a) incredibly nice and (b) incredibly happy. I met a teacher from Florida outside the convention centre who said, “Isn’t this amazing? I’m so glad I’m an English teacher and not a math teacher. This is so much better than a math convention!”
It was awesome. I want very badly to go back. Or maybe to live permanently amidst those stacks of books.
On a side note, St. Louis itself was also full of wonderful surprises, a few of which are here:
And, best of all:
Thank you, ALAN, for inviting me, and Groundwood Books for sending me!