Earlier this month I had a chance to attend the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute, a yearly educational session for booksellers that was held in Salt Lake City this year. Ellen & I went to last year’s session in Louisville, KY, and found it very helpful as we planned for opening the store opening. I was lucky enough to win a scholarship from Scholastic Books this year, which was a fabulous surprise and a boon to both me and the store. My husband Joe went with me and skied during the day while I worked.
Winter Institute is a great place to get together with other booksellers and exchange ideas and tips. There was a session about surviving tough economic times which offered a lot of good suggestions for small bookstores.
We were invited by Penguin Books’ Nicole White to a dinner with author and illustrator Loren Long (Toy Boat, Little Engine That Could, Drummer Boy), who was a very gentle, down-to-earth fellow who has a tremendous artistic talent. We talked to him about his upcoming book, Otis, the story of a little tractor who finds his place in the world (sort of a Story of Ferdinand meets Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel). Loren talked about some of the major influences on his work, including Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, but he also talked about how much he loves illustrating children’s books.
In the coming weeks, look in the store for our signed poster of Otis (which we’re having framed) for a sneak peek at a fabulously illustrated book coming out in the fall.