My Philadelphia visit has to be cut short a few days, but I thought I'd quickly share some of the fun times and cool people that made these two days so special.
On Thursday, I gave two library presentations where several high schools sent students. Every student had been given a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why before their visit, which always makes the Q&A much more interesting. And I finally autographed a book for someone with the title "Sister"!
On Friday morning, at the National Council of Teachers of English conference, I was on a panel with David Levithan and Lauren Myracle to discuss intellectual freedom. I'd never met Lauren before and had only caught a glimpse of David in the past, so I was really looking forward to this panel. We've all had different experiences with our books being banned or challenged, so hearing their thoughts was fascinating. But beyond what they had to say about tampons, thongs, erections, and the word %$@&, they both seemed like genuinely wonderful people.
After I signed books on the conference floor, I grabbed some autographs and photos of my own. As many of you know, Gordon Korman is a rock star to me. When he offered a blurb for my book, I was in heaven. But I actually haven't seen him in person since before I'd even finished writing Thirteen Reasons Why. So it was great to catch up!
I love Gene Luen Yang's Printz Award winning graphic novel, American Born Chinese. Though I already have a copy back home, when I saw that he was signing books, I had to buy another so I could have it autographed.
Of course, when I heard that Sandy Asher was nearby, I had to finally meet her. But no, we aren't related...though we tried to find some distant relative in common.
Though I've seen Laurie Halse Anderson at a few writing events, chatted with her briefly a couple times (and sent her a gushing fan letter for Chains), I've never had the pleasure to actually hang out with her. Suddenly, I'm sitting behind a table with her at a booksigning! For this event, with both Laurie and Lauren, I temporarily changed my name to Laurel. So here's Laurel Asher, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Lauren Myracle...
The people who showed up were brilliant! They had such amazing questions. In this photo, I think Lauren's showing the crowd how she can make her hand move really, really fast...
And in case you were wondering, yes, of course I devoured a Philly cheesesteak during my visit!