AASL 2023 Conference
I had the most amazing time in Tampa meeting with school librarians at the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 2023 conference. It is hard to put into words the excitement we shared over ending period stigma, and I am simply in awe of how they are able to help students through the library on this and other equity issues. First up was a signing with Perma-Bound who has one of my all-time favorite taglines: “The strongest books you can buy.” Grrrr! The entire team was so great, and we had a really fun time signing FREE PERIOD arcs, giving out friendship bead bracelets with phrases like pads-for-all, cuterus-uterus, squee!, and of course free-period, and chatting with librarians about how they’re planning to use the book in schools. Bonus: I met my “Fight Evil, Read Books” twin. Tampa it was meant to be!
Next was a panel on conflict in kidlit and how it can be addressed in respectful and engaging ways. Becky Calzada, the AASL president, Leander District Library Coordinator, and all around champion for the rights of children to read, Chris Barton, (GLITTER EVERYWHERE!, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat), and Kerry Cerra (HEAR ME) were amazing to work with in the months leading up to the panel and we had such an engaging discussion with the librarians in attendance on how literature can not only help kids feel seen, but also about how storytelling can help them resolve disputes. I put a lesson together on this topic that you can find here and will be highlighting Chris and Kerry’s books in my next newsletter. Can’t wait to work with Becky and Chris again at the Texas Library Association Conference scheduled for April.
Finally, it was a party at the Follett booth for my final event where I signed FREE PERIOD, learned about librarians leading period clubs and running basic need banks out of their spaces, and gave out a record number of Crochet Cuterus Uteruses. So thankful for Follett’s support and the way they are out in front on period equity. Inspiring!!
Attending AASL gave me such a better appreciation of the wonderful and challenging work our school librarians are doing to ensure students not only have access to great books, but also are developing the critical thinking skills necessary to understand and evaluate what they’re read. So much hope for the future!! And FREE PERIOD is available to order through Perma-Bound and Follett for your library or classroom right now!!
Debutiful Lunch at MPIBA
The MPIBA Fall Con was an incredible experience. I talked with booksellers about how we can break down period stigma with humor and heart! Hearing that some stores are planning their own period parties and bracelet crafting events made my year!!! Thank you so much to the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, their kind and expert volunteers, and Scholastic!!
At the Debutiful Lunch emceed by Adam Vitcavage I shared FREE PERIOD, one of my fave lines from the book about using what is unique about each of us to create change, and the message that advocacy doesn’t have to be fancy or formal, it can be fun…and full of maxi-pad cupcakes. My TBR is toppling after learning about so many exciting books at that event, including from fellow MG debut author Davaun Sanders whose novel KEYNAN MASTERS AND THE PEERLESS MAGIC CREW is out in a week (Oct. 17, 2023)!!!
I was lucky enough to spend time with RozHilden (and Paula!) on the floor and that is like taking a master class in books for young readers. Congrats on your retirement Roz but also don’t go lololol And I got to meet fellow Scholastic author Kazu Kibuishi. What? Yes! For real! Can’t wait to see how the Amulet adventure concludes in WAVERIDER (Feb. 6, 2024).
Authors Reception at NEIBA
I had the most amazing time sharing FREE PERIOD at the New England Independent Booksellers Association Authors Reception!
It was so much fun to sign books, help crochet uteruses find new homes, and squeeee! with everyone as they picked out their favorite friendship bracelets. But what really floored me was to hear so many people share their enthusiasm for breaking down period stigma in fun and engaging ways.
Meeting these incredible booksellers dedicated to children’s literature gives me such hope for the future! As does this absolute rock star of a sales rep Nikki Mutch!!
Bonus: I got to meet fellow Scholastic authors Jonathan Todd (TIMID – 4/2/24) and Ann E. Burg (FORCE OF NATURE illustrated by Sophie Blackall – 3/5/24) and can’t wait to dive into their stories. Thank you so much to Nikki, the Scholastic team, and the New England Independent Booksellers Association for this wonderful opportunity!
Look at those gorgeous books and crochet uteruses! All gone by the end of the night!
Scholastic Lunch at CALIBA
South San Francisco, CA
My heart is full after California Independent Booksellers Alliance‘s Fall Fest where the booksellers celebrated Roz Hilden’s 30 year career with Scholastic! I am so thankful for her support and dedication to young readers, and for the chance to present FREE PERIOD during the Scholastic Lunch moderated by the incredibly generous and insightful Brein Lopez with Children’s Book World in West Los Angeles.
Can you believe this pic of amazing kidlit? Don’t miss these titles in the coming months:
⭐️ OKAY, CUPID by Mason Deaver (1/2/24) is a YA romance where a cupid breaks a big rule – they fall in love with a person! The voice is as incredible as the premise. I am loving it so much and can’t wait to finish reading.
⭐️ MEET ME ON MERCER STREET by Booki Vivat (4/2/24) follows a young artist as she navigates big changes in her friendships and community. It is full of fun, energy, and hope, and of course Booki’s amazing illustrations—I know middle grade readers everywhere will love it!
⭐️ ON THE TIP OF A WAVE written by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Catia Chien (10/31/23) is a stunning picture book that shares how Ai WeiWei has created art, often on a monumental scale, using everyday objects to help people feel the plight of our fellow human beings – a beautiful way to get young readers thinking of how their own art can make a difference in understanding each other and improving human rights.(Bonus: we got a sneak peek of WE WHO PRODUCE PEARLS written by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya (4/16/24) – excited to read!!)
And of course there was all the bestie banter, wildly weird crafts, and delightfully disgusting desserts of FREE PERIOD as we discussed using humor to break down period stigma and fight for a future of menstrual equity. Yes, I talked about Maxi-Pad Cupcakes while everyone was eating again 😉
Thank you again to CALIBA and their super supportive volunteers, Scholastic, and Roz for this wonderful opportunity!
Period Equity at PNBA!!
Photo credit to Teagan Tigani
Dinner at the Kids Table was such a joy! I got to talk to a huge room full of incredible booksellers, librarians, and reviewers from the Pacific Northwest about FREE PERIOD and using humor to break down period stigma and work with people who are different from you to take action. Oh yes we connected over pranking for change, maxi pad cupcakes, and uteruses riding skateboards while everyone feasted on scrumptious pasta and garlic bread! A dream come true thanks to the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and Scholastic. And bonus! Everyone who attended got a signed book, FREE PERIOD friendship bracelet, Maxi-Graham recipe card, and the Pads on Parade bookmark designed by Bev Johnson—all connected to fun activities that can be used to break the ice and extend the reading experience.
But it wasn’t just me! Lily Taliaferro who manages the Children’s Department at Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, WA was our fantastic emcee as these legends took the stage:
⭐ Suma Subramaniam – THE RUNAWAY DOSA
⭐ Rosanne Parry – A HORSE NAMED SKY
⭐ Nisi Shawl – SPECULATION
⭐ Ryan La Sala – BEHOLDER
And Nisi and Ryan brought down the house with a rendition of the Miss Mary Mack clapping game. It was all captured with photos by Teagan Tigani, the brilliant and hilarious Children’s Book Buyer at Queen Anne Book Company (hearing her and Chris talk about read alouds has totally changed the way I look at picture books!).
Huge thank yous to PNBA’s welcoming staff and volunteers, especially Aspen who got me through my first signing ever. And finally to Chris Satterlund, Scholastic’s district sales manager and the best book champion an author could hope for. Her kindness, enthusiasm, expertise, and humor made this an amazing experience.