Saturday, we were up and at 'em as were a surprising number of conference attendees. My panel averaged between 20-30 audience members. Not bad considering it was 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning in Vegas, and my colleagues and I were presenting on a very specialized topic - the use of significant gimmicks in the composition classroom. Erika embeds the imagery and terminology of the vampire in her classroom. I love how she encourages students to see grammatical errors as "vampires" in their writing. I use banned books in order to facilitate original research papers, and Summerlin uses advertisements to encourage critical thinking about a writer's ability to "sell" an idea. Although our room was not equipped with the most up-to-date technology, we still managed to rock it. From there I attended two phenomenal panels on cognitive and metacognitive reading strategies and enhanced classroom discussion techniques, an interesting but ultimately inapplicable for my classroom panel on young adult literature and Wikipedia, and a horrible panel on grammar instruction. Overall, I count it a success. By this time, my husband has abandoned me to wander around Vegas, so I take the opportunity to enter the hallowed halls of the Exhibit Room - a gymnasium sized building with rows and rows of publishers hawking their wares at reduced prices. I was drooling and seriously wishing I had a brought a bigger suitcase. My first stop was Simon & Schuster where I received a (free!) copy of Sonya Sones' One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, which she promptly autographed. While she was signing, I told her about my banned books course. She brightly replied, "I'm on the ALA's Top 100 Banned Books list." "I know! My students read your books," I said. And then, Sonya Sones makes my day. "You should invite me to come visit." Momentarily stunned, I quickly recover, "Ok - how can we make that official?" Minutes later, I am wandering towards Penguin with a dazed smile clutching Sonya Sones' e-mail address in my hand. (Currently, plans to make this visit a reality are underway!) At Penguin's table, I pick up a $5.00 copy of David Levithan's A Christmas Carol remix called Marley's Ghost and receive a galley copy of his newest book Invisibility, co-authored with Andrea Cremer, due out summer 2013. I slightly redeem myself from the last time I met David Levithan where I babbled incoherently about how much I loved his work by remarking on how much I love the vignette style of The Lover's Dictionary, which I've recently re-read. Then I traverse to Anderson's Bookshops where I procure a copy of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, which I am currently loving, and The Raven Boys. We chat about our mutual love of red appliances a la Grace in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, and I advise her on the best place to purchase a red toaster (Target) before returning to the hotel room for fangirl round two.
A totally successful conference in my opinion.