NCTE Exhibition HallIf you look at the picture on the right, you might be asking yourself why all those people are in line. Concert tickets? The latest gadget? Maybe a Kleinfeld’s sample sale?


What you’re seeing is a line of hundreds of language arts and English teachers—from pre-service to elementary, from middle to high school to college—waiting for the NCTE exhibition hall to open on Sunday morning. So while others slept in, these teachers were anxiously awaiting for the doors to open. What’s behind these doors? Well, books, of course. As I said to my students on Monday morning, it was like a Black Friday sale for teachers. Needless to say, they were a bit incredulous.

During the NCTE Convention exhibition, dozens of publishers offer discounts on books for classroom use. On the last day in particular, hundreds of books are even given away for free, as publishers promote upcoming titles. One elementary school teacher I spoke to said she was walking away with 25-30 books to add to her classroom library. I saw several teachers with rolling luggages filled with books. And lines for authors signings zigzagged around the exhibition hall.

James DashnerSpeaking of authors, another highlight for me, personally, was the opportunity to meet several authors. For example, here I am with James Dashner, author of the Maze Runner series. He was signing at the PermaBound booth. As I walked by, I was surprised to see his line was relatively short. After joining the back of the line, however, the PermaBound rep let me know that they had run out of books for the signing. No matter. I asked if I could just get my picture taken with him to show my students (Look, authors are real people, too!). 🙂

Although I was in workshop sessions for most of the weekend (more on that in another post), I did get to carve out some time with a few more authors.

Despite being mobbed by hundreds of crazy English teachers (we’re a special breed, I must say), each author was incredibly gracious. I asked David Levithan the question that’s been on my mind (and on many of my students’ minds) ever since I finished Every Day: will there be a sequel?  The answer? Thankfully, yes. A companion novel to Every Day is coming out next year. Now there’s just the wait. But at least I’ve got a pile of books to read to keep me busy until then.