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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

ALA 2009: A Visit to Planet Esme’s Bookroom

The last time I was in Chicago it was for the Kidlitosphere Conference, the yearly gathering of children’s and YA literary bloggers (held this year in D.C.).  At the time, we were all invited to visit the Planet Esme Bookroom, a magnificent collection of children’s books garnered, collected, and maintained by author Esme Raji Codell.  My flight was scheduled at that time and I had to decline.  This weekend, however, I decided to right a great wrong and go on down to Esme’s.  And by good great luck, Ms. Esme was having a special event just in time for ALA.

If you are not familiar with Esme’s Bookroom, here’s a quickie description: "The primary purpose of the space is to serve as an inspiration, resource and meeting place for grown-ups who wish to deliver the best to children through read-aloud and literature-based education. Though the bookroom is primarily a resource center for adults, though we welcome well-behaved school-aged children (4 and up) who are accompanied by a guardian."  It’s the best case scenario of having too many children’s books.  You merely create a space to share them and the people with come.

Lookswise, it’s also adorable.  Bears some similarities to a little ole gingerbread house.  And sure as shooting, when you get inside there are sweets to take note of.

She has a more than impressive wall of signed photos and bits of art from various luminaries (Dahl, Aliki, Waber, etc.).

  She has a Halloween set-up that sort of lasts the whole year long. Cool, eh?

And there were other little elements that caught the eye. . . .

(in the bathroom, no less)

The room in which the actual talk was happening looked a little something like this:

And then came the speechifying, which was announced with this . . . okay, I’m not sure what it was, but it worked.


Kinda like a rubber shofar.

The special guest of the day? Toni Buzzeo, author of innumerable books.

Discussed on this particular day were two of her titles. Adventure Annie Goes to Work and Our Librarian Won’t Tell Us Anything (and its subsequent sequels).

Be sure to check out her Dewey Decimal numbered cape as well.

I’ll post a video take of the proceedings soon.  For now, enjoy the pics.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Wow! Thanks so much for this incredible Bookroom tribute! The space is only as good as the guests, so thanks for bringing your good karma.