Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whoa . . . Authors Hiding in Hicklebee's!!!

Recently, Peepy and I were recruited for a Top Secret mission!!!


So we boarded our plane and headed to our destination. Uber librarian Nancy Pearl* (well, an article about her) was on the same flight. Imagine that!
(We love Nancy Pearl, and not just because she talked about MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS on NPR. I even own her librarian action figure, and you can, too!)

Where were we headed?

Here are some hints . . .
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If you guessed San Jose, you're right!!!

And what's in San Jose? Only one of the best children's bookstores in the universe! Check this out!


We were lucky enough to visit Hicklebee's earlier in the year . . .


However, this time we were asked not to tell anyone we were coming.

Why? Because it was Educators' Night! This is the amazing and true story of what happened.

Before the evening began, six authors were snuck into the store. Here's Mac Barnett signing my copy of OH NO! before the event . . .

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Fun Fact: My close-personal-friend-who-has-pets-that-I-babysit (yes, the trust runs that deep) Dan Santat illustrated OH NO! and BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES)!!!


Meanwhile, back at the bookstore . . . look! Why, it's Kathryn Otoshi. (She was on the cover of Publisher's Weekly!)

Hey, hey, who's practicing being inconspicuous? That would be Barney Saltzberg!

Okay, so then the smart and attractive teachers and librarians came into the store. In addition to Books! Books! Books! There was wine and cheese and homemade cookies.

While everyone mingled, the authors went undercover and mingled, too. Only, we didn't tell anyone who we were. Can you find Mac and Barney and Kathryn?
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Other mingling authors included Jennifer Fosberry and Deborah Underwood!. Can you spot them?

Then it was time for the main event. The 150-ish smart and attractive teachers and librarians listened as Valerie Lewis booktalked . . .

But since Valerie is sneaky (in an admirable sort of way), every now and then she'd say. "Why just listen to me talk about the book, when we have the author here!"

And one of us would do cartwheels and a handstand, the run up on stage! (Two of those things isn't entirely true.)

Here's what it looked like from my POV while I talked about the Bobby Ellis-Chan series . . .

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Oh look! I was able to swipe, er borrow, these photos from Jennifer's blog. Here's Jennifer and Deborah in real life (as opposed to incognito), plus Jennifer and Mac and me . . .
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So, so, so much fun!!!

Later, we visited our autograph. It was still there, right next to my good friend J.K. Rowling's drawing of the Sorting Hat!!! (We actually sort-of-kind-of met before.)

It's entirely possible that she was there, too. Only she never did reveal herself, preferring to stay undercover.

Speaking of educators, I posted this on my facebook wall recently, but thought I'd add it here as well. It's about this new documentary . . .


WAITING FOR SUPERMAN . . . I had preview tickets for this sure-to-be-controversial documentary.

Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Did I agree with everything in it? No. The filmmaker makes a compelling argument that our public school system is broken. And if you look at the figures since No Child Left Behind was implemented, it's true.

From a story standpoint, this documentary will break your heart. The kids and their parents are amazing. Yet however well-intentioned the film is, it seems to point to "bad teachers" as the sole reason for our education ills. Yes, sure, of course, there are some bad teachers. We've had them. Our kids have had them. We all know who they are. But there are good teachers as well, and not just at charter schools. I travel all across the country to speak in schools, and what some of those teachers are doing is nothing short of amazing.

Are those "bad teachers" a problem? You bet. But what about classroom overcrowding? What about zero budgets? What about poverty? What about political/religious agendas? I would have liked to have seen those addressed, too.

That said, see the movie and talk about it. Then do something. Write to your school board, your politicians. When you're asked to have your taxes raised for education, vote "yes." And if you know an amazing teacher, thank them.

(Full disclosure: my parents are retired public school teachers.)

In case the video doesn't show up on your blog, CLICK HERE to see the trailer.

Photobucket Lisa Yee

Disclaimer: No proofreaders were harmed (or even used) in the creation of this blog.

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