Remember a couple weeks ago, I told everyone that I joined the International Reading Association (IRA)?
I was wishing at the same time that I could go to one of their conferences because they sounded so in-depth and fun. What I didn't realize at the time was that a) one of the IRA conferences was scheduled for Minneapolis (where I live) and b) my publisher Stone Arch Books had already booked me to sign copies of my Recon Academy books at the conference.
I was thrilled, jazzed and psyched all at the same time. So I asked my partner Mike to get a splash page posted for our boys reading site hizbot.com, got some cards printed up, forgot my camera at home and headed over a couple hours early on Tuesday.
I visited a few booths. At the Scholastic booth I met Michelle Kemp, who is an amazingly bright and knowledgable Implementation Specialist. We had a great talk about boys reading and she shared a ton of research materialsat in on a couple workshops - one with John Rocco of Moon Powder and Shrek (he art directed the movie) fame. I heard that John Scieszka of Guys Read was around. John is one of my heroes in the boys reading movement and meeting him would have been a highlight. But I heard the I'd missed him -- bummer.
I stopped by the Scholastic booth and saw that my Minneapolis writer friend Pete Hautman was signing his new book "How to Steal a Car," I give Pete so much guff when I see him that I don't think he knows he's one of my writing heroes. I admire him so much that even thought I was cutting the clock close, I stood in line (no perks for Pete's buddies) and got a book signed, then RAN the 25 yards to the Red Brick Learning booth (Capstone and Stone Arch partners) where they were sweating my arrival.
I didn't even notice the LONG line waiting for my signing. I signed 75 books in about 20 minutes, accompanied by the lovely duo Krista Monyhan, Marketing Coordinator and Joan Coughlan Berge, President of Stone Arch Books. What a blast! I think I had a conversation with EVERYONE who dropped by. I love people and that was lots of fun. We were giving away a copy of Recon Academy to each person and I hope we sold or inspired the sale of tons of these books for boys. I know boys will love them. I'm proud to work with Stone Arch.
Before I left for the day, I was hanging around wondering if there was just one more thing to do before I left for the day. So I left the doorway and walked back into the exhibit hall to the Pearson booth where TA DA John Scieszka was talking about his TruckTown books. I was thrilled, jazzed and psyched all over again. He talked about reading to kids, showed us pictures of his TruckTown creative team's studio at Simon & Schuster then READ one of his new books SMASH CRASH to a group of adults who hadn't had so much fun all day!
I went up and got a book signed and told John about our project hizbot.com and my initiative to personally inspire 1 million boys to read. He said he would link to us through guysread.com when we're ready! I also told him that I forgot my camera and would come back tomorrow for a photo.
Come back tomorrow for my report (AND PHOTOS) of my Wednesday visit to the IRA conference. That's what we call a setup.