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One of my favorite events of the year as a librarian is the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association's annual Children's Books and Literacy Dinner. This was my third year attending and it was fabulous for a number of reasons: all of the district library media specialists and the high school teacher librarian attended, author Eve Bunting sat at our table, I picked up quite a few books and had them autographed, and I got to meet a twitter friend in person (Alyson Beecher, principal of San Rafael Elementary School).

I think the highlight for the MBUSD library staff was sitting with Eve Bunting. She is nothing but gracious and kind. I met her for the first time at the 2009 SCIBA dinner and she was generous enough to pose for pictures with Mrs. Snively (Grand View librarian), Mrs. Kalenik (MBMS librarian), and myself. This year was no different (see pictures below). Mrs. Jones (from the Pacific library) asked Mrs. Bunting how many books she's written; according to Mrs. Bunting, her husband keeps track of the number but she thinks she's written about 280 books, with seven more in the works this year!
During the dinner several authors spoke about their most recent book or how they became authors. The night was emceed by Young Adult (YA) and picture book author Cecil Castellucci, and the guest speakers were YA author and National Book Award winner Judy Blundell, middle grade authors Brandon Mull and Dr. Cuthbert Soup, and YA author (and high school teacher) Andrew Smith. Cecil even sang a song about how great children's literature is!
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Publishers gave away books by the authors in attendance. After the dinner we're given an opportunity to get our books autographed. Experienced dinner attendees come prepared with their own bags because we receive so many free books. I even saw a lady pulling a folding cart on wheels! 

I picked up a copy of every book, ranging from picture books to middle grade fiction to young adult fiction. A few of the books I received will go into the Robinson collection. (Sorry, I paid to attend this year's dinner so I'm keeping most of the books.) Many of these books aren't for sale yet, giving attendees (and their students and children) a chance to read books before they hit shelves.

<-- Here's the stack of books I brought home. Pretty impressive, isn't it? My son was particularly excited about Brandon Mull's new book, A World Without Heroes (Beyonders Book 1), which I had Mr. Mull autograph for him. I also had two pictures books autographed for my daughter.

I can't wait for next year's event ... I'm also considering attending the SCIBA children's literature brunch in the fall (Sisters Grimm and NERDS author Michael Buckley will be there!).

 


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