Skip to main content

Musings on ALA Midwinter

As I posted on Friday, I attended the ALA Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia over the weekend. It was my first time, not only at Midwinter, but at any ALA event. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and learned so much. The adrenaline high I was on when I came out of the YMAs on Monday morning was unbeatable. I'm going to need to return just for that.

Here are some highlights of my weekend, chronicling the things I enjoyed the most.

The Youth Media Awards:

I watch these on my computer all by myself every year, BUT NOTHING can compare to actually being there for it. The energy and excitement in that room are palpable. Listening to the audience reactions on the webcast is nothing beside actually feeling it as it sweeps through the room. The one drawback is that I was unable to write my usual reaction post right away. And I won't be writing a full one up at all. My short thoughts: I love and adore the Schneider, Corretta Scott King, Belpre, and Caldecott committees to the moon and back. While I didn't love the books the Newbery committee chose, I appreciate how they found those books to be distinguished. I applaud the Printz committee for choosing Navigating Early as an Honor book and acknowledging the younger portion of the age bracket the Award covers. And I'm looking forward to finally reading Midwinter Blood.

What made the YMAs even better was I was sitting on a row of people from SLJ's Heavy Medal blog and Battle of the Books. I have been interacting with these people online for a few years now, and it was marvelous to finally have faces to go with names. We stood around and talked for sometime after and it was great. (I also enjoyed talking to DaNae in line as we were both there at 6:00 AM.)

The Teen Session of the BFYA:
Basically three amazing librarians brought in three groups of teens who had read a sampling of the books on the list of books under consideration by the committee for the Best Fiction for Young Adults list. For two hours those teens stood in line for an opportunity to talk about the books they had read,  and they were unflinchingly honest about them. While they sometimes contradicted themselves, they were such a joy to listen too and I love that their opinions were asked for.

I also attended the BFYA committee to see how they conducted their meeting, and I attended part of a session for ALSC's Notable Children's Books Committee. It was interesting to see the differences in how they ran, and how each committee discussed the books under consideration.

And of course, there was the Exhibit Hall, which was full of ARCs and publishers. It was hot, crowded, and loud. I had a great deal of fun just people watching in there. Good times. I was able to meet both Jonathan Auxier and Tom Angleberger and get their new books signed for Bit, who is beyond excited. And yes, I got some ARCs for myself as well. Here are the books I'm most excited to have (MG on left and YA on right):

I had a wonderful time visiting Philadelphia, a place I had never been prior to this. It is a lovely city (the parts I saw) and the people were all so friendly. This is definitely an experience I want to have again.

Good-bye Philadelphia! Next year Chicago!


Anonymous said…
Sounds amaaaaazing! And I love that you're planning to go next year (and that this is a thing open to non-librarians)!
Brandy said…
Yes, non-librarians are welcome too. Even though I'm not a librarian though I AM a member of ALA and ALSC. Non-members are also allowed to attend, but I think the registration fee is a bit higher if you want to get into the meetings and not just the Exhibit Hall.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein