A Newbie Heads to NOLA

lhawkins - April 23, 2018

This year’s ABA Children’s Institute is being held June 19-21 in New Orleans. An offshoot of the very popular Winter Institute, Children’s Institute is full of educational and networking opportunities tailored to booksellers specializing in children’s and young adult books. This is the sixth annual “kidstute,” and I’m excited to be attending for the first time this year. It will also be my first time visiting New Orleans, so I reached out to a few current and former NOLA residents to find out what I absolutely have to see in the limited time I’ll have to explore the city.

Places to get sweets top the list of recommendations I’ve gotten so far. Snow balls are apparently must-have fare in New Orleans, with Plum Street Snoballs and Hansen’s Snobliz, serving icy treats since 1945 and 1939 respectively, getting especially high marks. Made from real (machine-made) snow, condensed milk, and an infinite choice of flavors, the snow ball looks like a good way to beat the heat and hang with the locals.
As far as the Children’s Institute itself, I’m just beginning to pore over the schedule of speakers, educational sessions, discussion groups, and other offerings. There are always tough choices to be made at an event like this, with multiple enticing choices going on at any given time and a frustrating lack of time turners to be had. One thing I’m definitely attending, something I don’t think I’ve seen before on the schedule of a professional conference, is the Favorite Kids’ Book Character Costume Party. Like the kids we cater to, most kids’ booksellers love an excuse to dress up. I hope I’ll see some of you there– in costume, of course. Now pardon me while I get started on mine…


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