TLA! All The Way!

The Texas Library Association conference in Austin has made for an exciting week.

The highlight of Tuesday’s preconference activities was a talk by Dianna Hutts Aston, who spoke about the roots of her writing and her fascination with the mysteries of life. Dianna’s talk was heartfelt, enthusiastic, charming, and at times, funny.

In addition to one of the most gracious tributes to her illustrators, she also made mention of her teachers, Kathi Appelt and Debbie Leland. I believe this was Dianna’s first conference talk, and my, did her star ever shine!

Other celebrity sightings at the talk included uber-goddess librarian Jeanette Larson, author Anne Bustard, and up-and-coming Charlesbridge author Chris Barton.

That night I also ran into author Pat Mora at the bar at the Driskill Hotel. You’ll remember that Pat’s daughter, Dr. B., is my kitties house-call vet.

Wednesday, I attended uber librarian Teri Lesesne‘s talk, the Poetry Round-Up, and author/librarian Toni Buzzeo‘s speech on collaboration.

I also ran into more people than I can name (but some of them were Marian Hale (author of The Truth About Sparrows (Henry Holt, 2004),, Laura Tillotson, Charlesbridge editor Yolanda LeRoy, and author/editor Margery Cuyler).

Then, sporting my wine-red (per request) top-and-skirt set, I joined a loud group of librarians at the Capitol to send the message that “Texans Love Libraries.” Note: I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get my own drum, you know, but that’s okay. I sure hope those legislators were listening!

Thursday, Greg and I spoke with authors Roger Leslie and Alex Sanchez on a Multicultural Humor panel and then we ducked out for a break and lunch with author/poet Janet Wong at Manuel’s on Congress Avenue.

That night at the publisher party at the Omni Hotel, I saw several folks, including Loriene Roy and her graduate students from the University of Texas, Sandra Morrow from the National Christian Schools Association, authors Kelly Bennett, Gail Giles, Kathy Whitehead, author/illustrator Kurt Cyrus, and many more!

The Little Brown folks hosted a dinner for Greg and author Varsha Bajaj (a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award; congrats Varsha!) and welcomed our friend author/future librarian Debbie Leland as well. We went to the Bitter End, where Greg had a chance to catch up with his editor Amy Hsu.

Of course conferences are always a blur, and there’s so much more I could say. But it all boils down to this: TLA! All The Way!

Cynsational Links

The Goddess of YA Literature (AKA Teri Lesesne) posts Got Books? Great YA Reads of 2004-2005 (featured in her TLA talk).

A Day At TLA from author Anastasia Suen.