Other BEA posts: BEA 2009, BEA 2011 Pt. 1.

Let’s just take a moment to breathe this in, shall we?

63 books. Sixty-three glorious books. In TWO DAYS.

And yet the more I read about BEA, the more I feel I need to do differently next year. People seem to have the science of BEA-going nailed down to precise Swiss-inspired movements, but I stumble around from booth to booth gawking at beloved authors and grabbing bags. And donuts. And posing with Elephant and Piggie.

Don’t get me wrong, I brought my “A” game this week. But I’ve only been to BEA once before, and that was 2 years ago. I’m out of practice, and I haven’t perfected my technique. Tickets to great signings were not obtained, video cameras were forgotten at home, and I didn’t believe in the sweet relief of bringing an empty suitcase until Day 2.

And yet, I got this:

For the elementary school set I was so happy to get Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, I have a Gordon Korman-signed copy of The Medusa Plot to give away as a 4th grade prize, a Marla Frazee-signed copy of Stars, Mac Barnett’s galley of Mustache, Jon Klassen’s fabulous debut I Want My Hat Back (picture books not shown above), 3 books discussed at the Children’s Author Speed Dating Event, the legendary Katherine Paterson’s new book, and many more.

And then from the YA world (my personal love), we have this:

Copies of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Scorpio Races, The Gray Wolf Throne, Trial By Fire, Jessica Rules the Darkness, and We the Animals for the middle and high school librarians in my district. A signed copy of The Last Little Blue Envelope for them. A copy of Pure, the book with so much buzz that the film rights for the entire new trilogy were bought almost a year and a half before the book is even scheduled for release (I may or may not share that after I read it!). A signed audiobook of Ally Carter’s next Heist Society novel. And the list goes on.

PLUS, piles of books for adults that I’m already sharing with some teachers at school.

The books are obviously a huge part of BEA, but the community is the ultimate draw. Librarians, book bloggers, authors, publishers, and booksellers under one roof for days of mutual admiration and sharing. It’s just a great reminder that books are alive and kicking, and those of us who love working with them are still going strong in these tough times. So encouraging. I’m still building up my network of librarians and book bloggers (as you’ve noticed, this isn’t strictly a book blog) to connect with. I was doing so well last year, then I started a new job and all of my energy has gone into that this year. Something to work on for the future.

And I have a lot of reading to do this summer….