How I Spent My Summer: Philippines, San Francisco, ALA + All the Books

Hello everyone,
I am days away from officially going back to work to set up my classroom and welcome my new second graders to the new school year. But thinking back to the summer, a lot of things happened. There were some sadness, but overall it had been a fun, eventful two months.

Back in June, my family and I made an emergency trip to the Philippines. I didn't mention it on my post then, but it was because my paternal grandmother passed away. Not a fun trip, but she was really sick and we were glad she didn't have to suffer any longer. And despite the sad circumstance, it's always good to go back to our homeland.

Less than a week after we got back from the Philippines, I was traveling again. This time to San Francisco for the annual American Library Association conference. I went to the conference last year in Las Vegas and had a lot of fun, so I decided to go again this year. Unfortunately, Leslie couldn't make it, but my mom, brother and little sister Aubrey came with me and it was great!

With the wonderful Leigh Bardugo!
The city of San Francisco is amazing! I especially love that the temperatures were in the high 50s to low 70s at its hottest--I mean, even in winter we barely dip to the 60s here on Maui so I loved the cool weather. We did some sightseeing and a lot of food eating and had an awesome time.

Being the book nerd that I am, the ALA conference was, of course, the highlight of the trip. I'm always like a kid in a candy store with all the books, author signings and just meeting and being around other people who love books as much as I do--I only get to do this kind of thing once a year, since authors do not come to Hawaii for book tours and events, so I try to do as much as I can.

With Renee Ahdieh who was so lovely!
But it was a lot more challenging to do all the things this year, because of the weird exhibit hall set up. The conference was held at the Moscone Center, which was HUGE, and the exhibitors and vendors were split between two different exhibit halls. Now, this wouldn't have been a problem except instead of having all the publishers in one area like last year, they were split between the two exhibit halls. Like, Penguin Random House and HarperCollins were in one hall while Simon & Schuster and Macmillan was in the other and you have to walk quite a long (and confusing) ways to go back and forth between the two exhibit halls. Good thing I had Aubrey with me and we split up to go to different signings, or she'd stand in line for me so that after a signing was over, I could run to the other hall and I wouldn't be the last one and turn me away because they already ran out of books. Still, I missed quite a few author events because the running back and forth between the two exhibit halls just got a little too much.

Despite all that, I did get to meet some amazing authors including Leigh Bardugo, Renee Ahdieh (her debut novel The Wrath and the Dawn is the BEST I read this year so far), Anthony Doerr (who wrote All the Light We Cannot See and he was so nice), Rae Carson, Sabaa Tahir, Suzanne Young, as well as others. I also got a lot of amazing books that I am very, VERY excited to read--I tried to limit myself to books that I really want to read, but I ended up with a lot anyway.

The bulk of my ALA haul.
Next year, the conference will be in Florida and I am definitely planning to go not only because of the conference but it's also a chance to visit Harry Potter World and Disney World because I've never been to either.

After a very eventful June, I spend July relaxing at home and trying to read as many books as I can before I have to go back to work. I also reorganized my bookshelves and got rid of more books that I know I am never going to read or reread to make room for the new ones. I caught up on tv shows and YouTube videos. And when I'm not reading or watching, I am on Pinterest pinning classroom ideas and browsing TeachersPayTeachers... I can't believe summer vacation is almost over!

Let me know which book above I should read first. I'm having a hard time deciding because I want to read them all ASAP.

Happy reading,


  1. You've never been to Disney World? MICHELLE, YOU MUST GO! That was me and my husbsand's honeymoon, we're a bit obsessed :)

  2. yes, dumplin sounds like a fun read--i'm all for a plus-size heroine :)

  3. honeymoon at disney world?! that's AWESOME!!! i'm DYING to go! i'm disney-obsessed myself :D

  4. Still bummed that we missed each other at the ALA! But, yea, that 2-hall set up was a mess. It was so exhausting and I hope they never do it that way again. LOL We're still debating ALA Orlando, but HP world would be awesome.

    Aw, sweetie, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma's passing. *hugs*


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