April report: I’ve been all over the place!

April is always a busy month, and this year was no exception. I made a brief visit to my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. I presented at several schools. I went to a fancy ball. And then there was the Hattieburg festival where I accepted the Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Honor, and then The Texas Book Festival in San Antonio. And that was only the first two weeks! The last two weeks was all about preparing for IRA (International Reading Association) and TLA (Texas Library Association). Whew!

One of the coolest things at the Kaigler festival were the medallions featuring the images of legendary children’s literature creators.















Madeleine L’Engle’s and Ezra Jack Keats’ actual Newbery and Caldecott medals!













Texas Book Festival
On April 13, I was a featured author in the Texas Book Festival’s San Antonio edition. This was the first time the  festival was held in San Antonio. It was quite the classy event. The day kicked off with a yummy breakfast, then festival organizers welcomed authors and a few politicians spoke. I presented to an enthusiastic audience in the afternoon.

Mega-award-winning author, Cynthia Levinson

































Author Lupe Ruiz-Flores, illustrator Carolyn Flores, and I had great time.

















IRA (International Reading Association)

The following weekend, I returned to San Antonio to speak at the International Reading Association conference. I spoke alongside author friend, Cynthia Levinson and several other Texas literacy organizations. Cynthia spoke about her book, WE’VE GOT A JOB! I spoke about IT JES’ HAPPENED. The conference was a blast, and I was quite tired when it was all over. But I had one more conference to go: TLA.

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby, illustrator Terry Widener sign our books at the International Reading Association conference































Signing books at the Penguin booth.


















TLA (Texas Library Association)

I’ve attended the Texas Librarian every year since moving to Texas. It’s always a good time. I get to meet lots of librarians. I get a chance to catch up with editors that I’ve worked with throughout the years  but haven’t met in person. I also get to meet many authors and illustrators known only through social networks. This year the conference felt a little different to me, like I finally got my groove on. Throughout the conference I was approached by librarians whose schools I’ve visited in the past, as well as librarians whose schools I’m visiting later this year. Many wandered up just wanting to congratulate me on recent successes. That was kinda cool. This year I signed in the author area, which can be a lonely and scary place, especially if no one shows up. But that didn’t happen. I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception — the line never stopped!

Author E Kristin Anderson and I with her Dear Teen Me anthology
































Signing with fellow Sweethearts, Jessica Anderson and PJ Hoover














I’m kind of happy that April is over. It was busy. But I had a great time.