April 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

10 Memorable Moments in Chicago | ALA 2013

The 2013 American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago has come and gone, but the buzz is still with us from all of we saw, shared, and experienced of the exhibits, panels, committee meetings, and many special events with authors and colleagues. Out of all the memorable moments, following are my top ten sights from the event.

10. Artist Alley

Graphic novelists Dave Roman and Raina Telegemeier in ALA’s Artist Alley.

In ALA’s artist alley, attendees had the opportunity to hear and meet such graphic artists as Gene Luen Yang—where he spoke about Boxers & Saints (First Second, 2013), his two–volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion—and Dave Roman and Raina Telegemeier, graphic artists and spouses.

9.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Arthur Levine on the exhibit floor unveils the new cover.

On Saturday, June 29, publisher Arthur Levine unveiled the new cover for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by award-winning illustrator Kazu Kibuishi, the fourth of seven trade paperback editions with new covers illustrated by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Kazu Kibuishi. The covers are being reissued in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series.

8. Paws to Read

The Illinois Library Association was on hand during the conference to share details of its planned 2014 Summer Reading Program, “Paws to Read,” which features Tad Hills as its sponsored illustrator and his character of Rocket as the program’s mascot. The campaign is part of the children’s outreach efforts of the Illinois Reading Enrichment and Development (iREAD) program.

7. StarWalk Kids Media

Amy Kellman, retired head of children’s services at the Carnegie Library, Seymour Simon of StarWalk Kids, and Scholastic’s Lori Benton share a few moments on ALA’s exhibit floor.

Another fascinating exhibit was that of StarWalk Kids Media, an eBook company founded by award-winning children’s science author Seymour Simon. The company showcases the work of award-winning authors and illustrators such as David Adler, Stephanie Calmenson, and Doreen Rappaport.

6. Newbery Superstars!

Newbery Medalists Katherine Paterson, Katherine Applegate, and Patricia MacLachlan.

HarperCollins hosted three of its Newbery winners at the same time at its booth on the exhibit floor: Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia, 1978 and Jacob Have I Loved, 1981); Katherine Applegate (The One and Only Ivan, 2013); and Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall, 1986).

5. Gareth Jones Sings


Gareth Jones, British children’s author of Constable and Toop (Abrams, 2013) and the “Ninja Meerkats” series (MacMillan), brought his ukulele to serenade librarians in the exhibits.

4. Movers & Shakers

2013 Movers & Shakers Margaux DelGuidice, Matthew Winner, and Rose Luna.

I ran into many terrific librarians throughout the conference, but it was a special treat to spend time with some of the school and children’s services librarians who have been named Movers and Shakers by Library Journal over the years. The opportunity to mingle and meet with many of the Movers & Shakers was also a highlight for one of the 2013 honorees, Margaux DelGuidice, she says.

3. Live @ Your Library

Ellen Hopkins presented 26 authors on the exhibit floor to promote the work of  Live @ Your Library.

Live @ Your Library, a national initiative from ALA’s Public Programs Office, provides grant opportunities for libraries looking to present cultural programming for adults and families to explore important issues. The group’s offerings at ALA this year were quite rich, with 26 critically-acclaimed and best-selling authors being brought to the exhibit floor to read from their books and answer questions.

2. Scholastic Readers Theater

Authors Gordon Korman, Brandon Mull, Kirby Larson, Kat Fall, Kathryn Erskine and Jeffrey Brown

Not content to simply announce its new titles, Scholastic hosted a star-studded Sunday brunch event with authors Gordon Korman, Brandon Mull, Kirby Larson, Kat Fall, Kathryn Erskine and Jeffrey Brown each performing excerpts of their newest kids’ titles in a version of Readers Theater. The award for best performer goes to Brandon Mull for his versatility.

1. Giada De Laurentiis

Rocco Staino, SLJ contributing editor, and Giada De Laurentiis.

It is always wonderful to meet a celebrity at ALA, and this year it was the chef Giada De Laurentiis, who was there to promote Recipe for Adventure: Naples (Grosset & Dunlop).  It is the first in a series that will bring her characters around the world on adventures centered around food.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. Looks like a great time was had by all. Wish I could have been there!

  2. Great article, Rocco! One of my favorite moments of ALA Chicago was getting to meet you!