I am a little late with this post, but I wanted to thank my publisher, Houghton Mifflin for my glamorous tour of Minneapolis and the folks of IRA (International Reading Association) for honoring The Raucous Royals with the Intermediate Nonfiction Award for Young Adults. At the conference, I attended the awards luncheon at the swanky Hilton Ballroom and for just a brief moment felt like I might have a clue as to what I am doing in this crazy world of publishing. But….then that moment passed when I had to waddle up to the stage to accept my award and pray that I wouldn’t trip over my feet. (They are becoming hard to see lately).
I really had no idea that IRA was so large. About 15,000 people go every year, but this year it was broken up into two conferences so about 7000 were there. Still…that’s a lot of people and a lot of books. I was in book heaven. I managed to score a signed copy of the Caldecott winner, A House in the Night along with a signed copy of the beautiful Red Sings from Treetops.
My favorite part of the conference was the end. For those of you that live in New England, you might remember that once upon a time Filenes Basement would host their infamous “Running of the Brides.” Brides would first line up in front of Filenes Basement in the hopes of snagging a designer wedding dress at a dirt cheap price. Filenes would then open the doors….and brides to-be would swarm down upon the dresses like flies on white bread. The event always led to some interesting stories of brides taking down other brides in the search for their perfect dress.
Well, at IRA all the publishers give away their display books for free at the end of the conference creating what I can only call “The Running of the Teachers.” If you think standing in the way of a bride and her perfect dress is risky then you should see what happens when you stand in the way of a teacher trying to bring back the perfect book for their classroom. I didn’t understand the process and almost got pummeled by an eager teacher waiting for her turn. It got so ugly that I had to hide out at the Houghton Mifflin booth until the carnage ended. (Instead of giving books away, Houghton Mifflin donates their books to IRA who in turn give them to a needy school.) Thankfully, I came back unscathed and even managed to get an extra motivational boost from the people (all three of you) who stopped by at my signing.
I hope to go to IRA again next year, but I plan to come prepared with padded clothing, extra bags, and my teacher game face on for the Running of the Teachers.