My publisher for Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, Dawn from Raven Tree Press came to town for the International Reading Association (IRA) along with Dick, the owner of their parent company, Delta Systems. They treated me to dinner on Cinco de Mayo where we talked about fun project ideas. Then Thursday Dawn and another Raven Tree author/illustrator, Sheila Jarkins (check out her new book coming soon - Marco Flamingo), and I took a day to talk to some important people here in Atlanta.
First were my friends at the Latin American Association, where I take my Spanish lessons. Since Delta Systems specializes in ESL materials for all ages, and Raven Tree specialized in bilingual picture books, they were a natural fit. Our meeting was enormously successful and we were able to enjoy lunch at the Cuban sandwich restaurant across the street afterwards.
Our second stop was to a new bilingual bookstore and educational facility in Alpharetta, My Spanish Workshop. I was thrilled to find out about this local resource.
Third was The Reading Tree, our latest independent children's bookstore in Alpharetta. There we talked to friends, Cindy and Martha about exciting happenings in the independent children's book business.
And from there we headed to my extended home, Little Shop of Stories.
Of course, we were also exhausted, so hung out at The Brick until Sheila's son picked her up and Dawn left on Marta for the airport. But we got some great time to sit and try to digest all the information from the day and talk the biz. (Here's Dawn squinting in a sudden wind gust, Sheila, and me.)
Do all creators get opportunities like this? To show off the places where the magic happens in their cities to the people who make the magic happen with their books? I hope so, because it was a wonderful experience for me. And I loved putting faces with the people I email with. Bonus was they are wonderful people and we all got along so well (and had a lot of surprising things in common), I know I have new friends.