Thousands of English Teachers Descend Upon Vegas: A Photojournal

Hi, Constant Readers!

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to get to attend the Annual Convention of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) on behalf of my book, Trash Can Days: A Middle School Saga(coming out in August 2013 -- check it out, you can actually pre-order the book on Amazon  -- even though it's a whole human pregnancy until the release date!).

I drove down to Vegas last Friday with my Official Girlfriend of the Trip Courtney and we had ourselves quite the weekend. We met some authors, stole a bunch of free crap, avoided some scary Vegas people, and, of course, we waded our way through hundreds and hundreds and thousands and thousands of English teachers -- a veritable post-apocalypse's worth of book lovers. It was awesome.

And I've got the pictures to prove it!

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"Welcome to Las Vegas!" says a boy who has apparently just learned how to use his hand

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Before hitting up the convention, Courtney and I of course had to do some stupid Vegas stuff like visit the M&M's store. Here we are with the blue M&M, who, as you can see, has a disturbingly lusty facial expression and who is also softly stroking Courtney's hair. Dulce de...lecherous?

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"I am The Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have any other Gods before me." -David Copperfield

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Here's how you know you've made it big -- when not only do you have your own face statue in a casino, but also, adorning your face statue, you have another statue version of you, a little dude who's just flying around. (Or maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe that's not Tiny David Copperfield, but rather Tiny Jeff Goldblum. Or Tiny Noah Wyle. Or Tiny Bill Nye the Science Guy. No matter what...impressive!)

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Teddy Steinkellner: LORD OF HYPERION PUBLISHING.

(Only joking. Judging from the banner behind me, it seems quite clear that the title of Lord of Hyperion Publishing belongs to either Mo Willems or Helen Keller. But hey, a guy can dream!)

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Here is my editor, the indomitable Christian Trimmer, engrossed in an advance reader's copy of my book at the Disney-Hyperion dinner. Either that, or he's pretending to read it to look good for the camera/humor me. I'm cool with whatever.

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Sharing a hearty guffaw with my new bestie Amelia Bedelia.

AMELIA: So then all of the players on my team said, "Run home, Amelia! Run home!" So that's what I did...I ran off of the baseball diamond...and all the way to my house!

TEDDY: Oh, Amelia! When will you ever learn? You're simply too much!

AMELIA: I'm too much? I'm too much of what?

Aaaaaaaaand...scene.

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My bad. Didn't realize I was standing behind the showgirl cutout picture thingy. Totally thought it was a Siegfried & Roy white tiger cutout picture thingy. No big deal. Carry on.

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Here's me with RJ Palacio, the author of the throughly-entertaining, spectacularly tear-inducing, and probably-about-to-win-the-Newbery-Medal novel Wonder! I haven't been so nervous-excited since the time I met Taj Mowry.

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And here is Official Girlfriend Of The Trip Courtney with RJ! See, I did let Courtney be in a picture (one, though. Just one.).

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Aaaaand finally, to wrap things up, this was the craziest part of the weekend -- Court and I were just leaving the MGM Grand to drive back to LA, when, wouldn't you believe it, right there, at the National English Teachers' Convention, I ran into my English teacher--my AP English teacher Ms. Maggie Mason! Of course I did. Thanks again for the good grade on my Silas Marner project Ms. Mason, and thank you Las Vegas for an unforgettable weekend!