ALA 2023: Busy, buzzy, bountiful

This year’s American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago was busy, buzzy, and bountiful. The exhibit hall and sessions were packed with energetic, almost giddy-seeming attendees. All weekend long, visitors to the Horn Book’s booth, #2415, received very cute “Horn Book Fanatic!” ribbons; along with free copies of the March/April issue of the Magazine, with adorable bike-riding cover by Juana Medina; and the May/June Special Issue: Diverse Books: Past, Present, and Future, with gorgeous foldout cover art by Bryan Collier.

Our larger-than-life banner previewed the July/August Special Issue: ALA Awards, with original art by Caldecott winner Doug Salati…who stopped by the booth (thanks to Marketing Director Jen Jones for the pic; more in slideshow below). And then — like magic! — on Monday morning, following Sunday’s CSK Breakfast and Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet, as is customary, we put out the July/August issue for attendees to grab and enjoy.

Earlier in June we announced the winners of this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, and committee member Roger Sutton and chair Erica Marks were able to hand-deliver BGHB Award stickers to publishers and some of the authors and illustrators themselves at ALA! On Sunday morning, authors Minh Lê (himself a previous BGHB judge) and Ellen Oh came by the Horn Book booth for a Fast Five Questions interview with me about their work with We Need Diverse Books, to be posted to soon.

There were so many more things to see and do it’s hard to fit in a post, but special thank yous to all the publishers who fed us and showed off their new books (among them, in alphabetical order, HarperCollins, Holiday House, Lee & Low, Little, Brown, Scholastic). To Victoria Stapleton: I will forevermore triple-check my Hyatts. To Patty from Capstone – we went to the zoo! To the Association of Jewish Libraries for their annual Schmooze. To REFORMA’s always splendid and lively Pura Belpré Celebración. And here’s hoping that, by now, everyone who had expected to (and their luggage) has finally gotten out of O’Hare.

To relive the experience, or to enjoy it without the crowds, read this year’s Newbery, Caldecott, Legacy, and CSK speeches; profiles of the winners; our annual “Mind the Gap Awards” (books we loved that didn’t win at ALA); and “Year in Words and Pictures,” from the July/August issue. Individual copies are for sale, or better yet, subscribe!

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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