It's a big weekend in Montreal -- not only is my sister getting married this afternoon (which means my daughter is in town from New York. YIPPEE!), but there's a CLA (Canadian Library Association) conference happening, too. And if there's one thing we writers love, it's LIBRARIANS!!

I got to spend an hour at the conference yesterday, signing books and meeting interesting people. I don't know about you, but I'm the sort of person who gets energized from meeting new people. 

IMG_1527.jpgIn today's picture, you can see two of the people I met. The woman who is sitting down is Donna Rea. She works for S&B Books, a major Canadian wholesaler of books, and she knows a lot about the Canadian children's book industry. The woman who is standing is Judith Saltman, a professor in the library school at the University of British Columbia. I was quite excited to meet Judith since I have heard about her research into, for example, Jewish Canadian books for children. She told me she has a copy of my book What World Is Left on her office desk and she is planning to read it soon! I asked Judith why she thinks kids books are so important and this is what she told me: "I find children's books absolutely thrilling. They help children grow into fuller human beings." Nicely put, don't you think?

But those aren't all the people I met! When I arrived, two local authors, Saleema Nawaz and Katia Grubisic were signing their books. (I'd have posted their pic, but Saleema's eyes were closed in the photo I took.) I also met Marcia Aronson, a specialist in adult literacy at the Ottawa Public Library. Marcia, too, has a special interest in YA books because they often make good reading material for her adult learners. I got a special kick out of meeting Vancouver author Guy Robertson, who was there to sign his book, Conversations for a Hungry Mind. It turns out that like me, Guy is a fan of Lewis Carroll. In fact, he was on his way to London, England to do research into the white rabbit!

Special thanks to my new friend Brenda Smith, a former librarian now teaching English Language Arts at a school in Kanehsatake, here in Quebec. Brenda is the person who rounded up a group of local authors to participate at the CLA event. Brenda and I had time to chat about books. She told me, "If I can't read every day, I go frantic!" And indeed, I caught her in the act -- reading! When Brenda had a short break, she cracked open Joanne Harris's The Lollipop Shoes, the sequel to the bestselling Chocolat

Hope you're having a good weekend, too, perhaps meeting new people or cracking open a good book!