Last week I spent 4 crazy-busy but completely fun days in New York with my husband and kids for Spring Break. Yup, we’re weird that way. We don’t often rocket south like heat seeking missiles this time of year. And having lived in the Big Apple in my long ago past, I still consider East 46th Street one of my beloved homes. So it was wonderful going “home” again.
Of course, we visited the Belmont as well as other favorite haunts, and took in an eclectic trio of shows. But I also budgeted time for two “business” stops.
The first was for coffee with one of my editors, Michelle Nagler. Rather than meeting at one of the ten bazillion Starbucks dotted around the city, we chose to visit in her office among her shelves and shelves of children’s books. As a matter of fact, every angled wall in that editorial division was filled floor to ceiling with books. It seemed fitting that the famous, funky Flatiron building housed this creative commune called Bloomsbury.
And for an hour, we talked about my books, her books, funny books, award-winning books, best sellers, illustrators, art – pulling examples from the shelves as we discussed, oohing and aahing over color schemes, word choice, diorama art, perfect titles. She mentioned a bit of happy news – TOO PURPLEY! will also be released in the U.K. Hurrah! And I even got a peek at her slush pile. Sigh! We both agreed, we could have chatted all day.
My second “business” stop was at none other than the Children’s Center at the 42nd Street New York Public Library. Nostalgia flooded me as this was my first child’s very first library – not to mention his favorite from Ghost Buster fame. I stopped there to soak it all in once again, but also to meet that blogging rock star librarian from Fuse #8 – the kid lit guru Elizabeth Bird.
The Children’s Center buzzed — toddlers on computers, babies teething on board books, school age kids combing the shelves, parents chatting and reading and enjoying this warm, rainbowed refuge on that misty New York day. And wouldn’t you know it, Elizabeth was sitting right there at the front door as if to eyeball each little entering patron and pair him/her with a perfect book match.
Even though I tried to bribe her with Dylan’s candy and threatened to rearrange her Dewey Decimal System, she wouldn’t reveal the contenders in her Top 100 Picture Book Poll. She only hinted at a few surprises. NYPL is certainly lucky to have Elizabeth in their kid’s court.
So in addition to chance meetings with The Take Home Chef and Ed Norton (no kidding) I got to meet these two lovely literary stars. And both further affirmed that the folks in children’s publishing and children’s literature are among the kindest in the world. I can’t wait to go back.