I just got back from the IRA conference (the International Reading Association, not the tax people!) where I got to meet amazingly dedicated educators from around the country who love and support children’s literature, along with some authors who I’ve admired for a long time (I’ve added their photos to the Author Pals section of my website). I had been looking forward to meeting John Green, author of one of the best-written novels in my recent memory—The Abundance of Katherines. I immediately informed him he was on my “literary crush list” of authors I want to meet the most. (After Judy Blume, Jerry Spinelli had moved up to the top position until we met last year. I got to spend some time with him this week, and he’s truly a rock star. Gracious, unassuming, and funny. We were all staying at the Omni Hotel, which was hit hard in the freak downtown Atlanta tornado a few weeks ago. Jerry’s room was one of those with duct tape on the window to cover the cracks. He reported that he gave it a little push to make sure it was going anywhere. Seems sensible!) Anyway, John asked who else was on my list, so Eoin Colfer, Scott Westerfeld, and J.K. Rowling, if you’re out there, you’re next! )
I had three book signings at the conference—the first at the Little Brown booth (they publish most of my books, always make sure I know where I’m going at these things, and bought me a Cinnabon Pretzel when I really needed one). The second was at the Scholastic Book Fair booth (I want to take all the people who work there home with me), and the final one was at the booth run by Anderson’s Bookshop. They’re an awesome independent children’s bookstore outside Chicago in Naperville, IL and have been wonderful supporters of my books ever since A Mango-Shaped Space came out five years ago. Due to a last minute addition to their signing roster, I was seated elbow-to-elbow next to comedian/TV personality/writer Jeff Foxworthy. A lovely man, and judging by the thousands (literally) of flashbulbs that went off during that hour, a very popular one among the female population of the conference. Moral of the story—never sign next to a celebrity if you want to keep your ego intact! It was his idea to each hold up the other’s book for this picture. Anderson’s folks—I still love you!
Me and Jeff Foxworthy holding up each other’s books.
To follow up on my last blog about my search for the new Good & Fruity, the internet order arrived as promised. Were they worth the effort I put into searching for them? Well, who can really say. But they were definitely good! Not exactly the way I remembered them, but close. A little sweeter. And now they have a blue one, which I don’t feel is necessary. I did find a mutant Good & Fruity (out of 12 boxes, there HAD to be one!), but I ate it before I could take a picture of it. I managed to hold off eating a mutant Gobstopper that I found last week though, so check it out in my “Fun Stuff” section. As you know if you’ve read Jeremy Fink, I’m big on the mutant candy.
So if I tally up the grams of sugar I consumed by eating ALL TWELVE BOXES, well, let’s just say it’s such a scary number that I’m now OFF CANDY FOR GOOD!!!
Ok. Probably not for good. Especially since I have a HUGE bag of freshly made chocolate from Hershey’s Chocolate World, compliments of the Scholastic Book Fair people after I signed copies of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life at the Pennsylvania Association of School Librarians conference in Hershey, PA. You see why I want to take these people home with me! Did you know they make marshmallow-flavored Hershey’s kisses now? VERY yummy! And Hershey bars with Green Tea in them? Not so yummy! Perhaps they’re an acquired taste.
All right, back to work putting finishing touches on The Candymaker’s Son. Till next month, happy reading! )