This past Saturday, Heather — my awesome friend and guest reviewer — and I had the opportunity to get together and drive down to Cincinnati to Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore who hosted a book signing for the Girls Taking Over The World Tour (which will from now on be referred to as GTOTW, because the alternative is super long and my fingers are lazy….tired and lazy). GTOTW consists of FIVE amazing YA authors:
(from left to right; unabashedly pilfered from the GTOTW website; click the photo above to go there)
I have actually never been to a book signing before. Before starting this blog, I guess I never even really thought about attempting to find out where these kinds of things happen. Besides, how many authors actually come through Ohio? Not many. That’s for sure and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to go to my first ever book signing.
It was a lot of fun to see the personalities behind the books and to hear the motivations and inspirations behind the stories. It gives me as reader a greater context in which to view these authors’ works and gives the books just a little more depth. And, as was the purpose of the tour, it was great to hear the authors describe their strong female characters and talk about the key women in their own lives who encouraged and supported them in writing. From teachers, to moms, to female family friends or best friends, you never know how far a little encouragement or a listening ear will go, and in the cases of these five authors they each had their own touching story to share of the women who inspired them. I loved Saundra Mitchell’s story of Mom Bettis and her unfailing confidence that Saundra would publish a book. I loved Christine Johnson’s story of how she kept Claire de Lune all to herself until she got signed by Simon Pulse and her best friend’s encouragement and understanding throughout the process. I loved hearing about how real life events from her high school days inspired Zielin’s The Implosion of Aggie Winchester and that it was one of her teachers who provided some foundational support for her love of writing. I loved Rhonda’s admission that she tries to write in a strong best friend character for her leads, because she thinks it’s important to have those kinds of friendships and bonds. And I loved hearing about how Sarah Bennett Wealer remembers being inspired by her mother, an English professor, who gave her a love of books, sunflower seeds and Masterpiece Theatre.
To be honest, Saundra and Rhonda were the only ones I had read prior to the Tour, but throughout the talk it became clear that I desperately needed to add all of these authors to my TBR.
So I did. And so should you.
and of course…
I got my copy of this book signed <insert fangirlish “Squee!” here>, AND Saundra also signed another copy that may show up in the Back to the Books Giveaway Hop.
And, even though I’m a photog, I actually didn’t get any pictures. Why? Because I always feel like a gigantic dork, dragging my gigantic camera (complete with my gigantic 430 EX Speedlite) along to things like this. But, now I’m regretting it. Totally regretting it. And next time I won’t let my self-consciousness get the better of me. I will be strong…I will take over the world one photo at a time. <wink wink>
So since I didn’t take any photos, I’m going to share one shot that was shared on the GTOTW site:
Once again, I didn’t take this picture. I believe this particular photo credit goes to Saundra’s husband.
To view more pictures from the Cincy signing, click on the photo to be take to the GTOTW site.
A big thank you to Saundra Mitchell, Rhonda Stapleton, Christine Johnson, Lara Zielin and Sarah Bennett Wealer for coming to Cincinnati to talk about their books, scary van rides in the rain and the women who helped them become the writers they are today!
Abruptly segueing into my next topic…if you live in the Cincinnati area, you need, need, need to check out Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore and Decafe. It’s one of the most adorable, whimsical, wonderful independent bookstores I’ve been to. From the colorful cafe menu done up in chalk and differently sized alphabet magnets, to the author and illustrator doodles covering almost every available surface, to their wonderful selection of books to their incredibly helpful staff, Blue Manatee is a bookstore both children and adults will fall in love with. Most of the staff, I was informed, is largely made up of teachers and former teachers, which I thought was really neat. They are people who are actively involved with children’s literature and literacy and who are also knowledgeable and friendly. Blue Manatee is one of those bookstores you frequent for the great reads as well as just the experience of going. Plus, their manatee is super cute. So go. Right now. Even if you live in Uruguay.
3054 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45209
Happy Reading, ya’ll!