The Gauntlet

Whew, what a couple of weeks it has been. Things started with a bang at the Children's Choice Book Awards on May 2, where SMILE was nominated for the 5th - 6th Grade Book of the Year. I lost to Rick Riordan, but I still had a lovely time at the gala--shmoozing with authors, editors, kids, and all sorts of excellent folks.


Then on Thursday the 5th, I spent a very full, very thrilling day at the Scholastic headquarters celebrating the kickoff to their Read Every Day. Lead A Better Life. literacy campaign--I wrote a big post about it, including photos, here!


The next day, bright and early, Dave and I picked up our friends Yuko and Ananth and headed north to Toronto for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival! We had a fun ride, which has been memorialized in comic form. We got in late, and settled in for some rest before a long convention weekend.

TCAF is seriously one of the best small press comic shows anywhere, hands down. For starters, it's free to attend. The venue, the Toronto Reference Library, is sprawling and beautiful and welcoming. The convention reaches out to young attendees, creating lots of great kids programming and assuring that young fans can find comics appropriate for them. The paneling tracks are well-organized and a joy to attend. In all, TCAF is one of the best-organized, most welcoming comics events I've ever been to, and it just keeps getting better.

Highlights from the weekend included a live reading panel with Dave Roman, Colleen AF Venable and R. Sikoryak; my Turn Your Life into a Comic workshop; a Thai dinner with friends that went on for several hours; a lovely breakfast hosted by First Second; and meeting so many enthusiastic young fans! As always, I'm blown away by Canadian fans' enthusiasm and good cheer. Thanks to everyone who came to say hello!

Good times at TCAF

Dave had to leave town a little earlier than I did: on Sunday night, he flew down to Orlando, FL for the International Reading Association conference, where he was a guest! I would've liked to go with him, but I had my own events to attend...!

So Monday was spent in the car driving home, and Monday evening was spent transferring my things from one suitcase to another.


Tuesday I flew to Baltimore, and Wednesday I was lucky enough to spend a day talking to students at the Garrison Forest School. What an amazing campus, and what a terrific group of students, teachers, and librarians! It's always a kick to talk with kids who have read and thought about my books so deeply, and their questions surprised and delighted me. I wish I could have spent another day or two there! Thank you so much to the librarians who coordinated my visit, and to everyone for making me feel so welcome!

Signing books at of the students had already embellished her copy

Tuesday evening found me on the train back to New York, where I was reunited with Dave and the two of us were both bursting with excited about comics, kids, teaching, travel, and the future!

I've got a few weeks free now, and am playing a riveting game of catch-up before diving back into work on my book. Starting June 1, we're right back to being busy with promotion, travel, and events, which I will post about as soon as I am able! Hope you're enjoying this lovely spring so far!

Raina Telgemeier