Posts Tagged ‘Newbery’

Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Newbery1

Notes from the Caldecott/Newbery/Wilder Banquet

Dan Santat Caldecott Winner
He’s 40, but he feels like a kid pretending to be an adult.
Still feels like he’s pretending to know what he’s doing.
11 years in publishing, over 60 books.
Santat is alphabetically next to Seuss, Sendak, and Silverstein.
Always wanted to believe hard work could mask any shortcomings.
Always worried he’d be discovered as an imposter.
Slow and steady career rise.
Navigated the process by reading reviews.
He reads every single review. To search for answers. What does it take to make a great book?
Had an opportunity to work at Google making google doodles. Would have provided financial security.
Was hoping his friends would tell him to keep it real and making books is what he’s meant to do.
Finally turned it down, because he knew he’d always wonder what he could have done.
Published 13 books in 2014. Terribly tired. Felt like he had nothing left to give. Learned he’s only human. Was angry at himself for being weak. Feeling that he’d peaked. And he couldn’t push himself any more.
He wants far more than he’s capable of. Keeps wanting to work harder.
Just before getting the call, he’d reminded himself he wasn’t good enough.
Maybe is a dangerous place to be.
Magic only happens in fairy tales and feel-good movies.
You just experienced the unimaginable becoming a reality.
After 10 years of working like a dog, he realizes this is a prize that can’t be earned, but he will always try to be worthy of it.
Let him feel he’s good enough. And not invisible.
Other authors and illustrators make it look effortless.
You are the stars in the sky.
Thank you for allowing me to shine with you.
Thanks his wife who supported the decision to decline the job offer from Google.
I’m still a kid pretending to be an adult. His agent tells him what he needs to hear.
Thank to bloggers — Betsy Bird, John Schu, Travis Jonker, Colby Sharp, Nerdy Book Club
A month before Beekle was published, he was worried about the ambiguity of the ending.
To his kids: “Beekle” was his kids’ word for Bicycle. How it feels to be loved unconditionally.
Despite our insecurities, it’s our nature to work our hardest.
You are my proof that I am able to produce something perfect in this world.

Newbery
Kwame Alexander, The Crossover

When I was a child, I wanted to be a fireman and a doctor and a king.
Tonight I feel like a king.
Newbery trance is not kind to clarity and conciseness.
My first librarians were my parents.
Books lined the walls and floors of our home.
Librarian: All about joy and about books.

Honored to be in this room with so many pulchritudinous librarians.
“The most distinguished literature for children” — that sounds perfect.
Went to Key West to write the speech. Went to the Mel Fisher museum — a treasure hunter who found gold.
After 20+ rejections, he finally discovered gold.
About a family — not about his family but from his own familial experiences.
Editor: “Brightly shining yes in a sea of no.”
“How do you win the Newbery?”
Learn words, love words. “Your son intimidates the other children with his words.”

How do you win the Newbery? Be interesting.
Father always hosts a book fair the day after Thanksgiving.
Books are doors to a life of sustainability and success.
Was going to be a doctor.
— Took Organic Chemistry
— Took a course on poetry with Nikki Giovanni
“She smiles like your grandma used to do when you thought you said something profound, but you didn’t.”
“I can teach you to write poetry, but I can’t teach you to be interesting.”

Wrote his wife a poem a day for a year.
Poetry found him.
Use your words. Be interesting. Be eloquent.
His story of becoming a poet.
Living an authentic life, so you’ll have something authentic to write about.
You have to answer the call.
Write a poem that dances. That looks good.
Write a poem that is contagious!

Now that’s a speech!

Wilder Award: Donald Crews
Without his late wife, Ann Jonas, he wouldn’t have gotten on this journey.
They took the fork in the road.
He used to read to his grandma, Big Mama. She said he would go somewhere.
He developed a tendency to doodle in the margins more than work on the problem at hand.
Fork in the road: Applied to and was accepted to an Arts high school.
Teacher asked him about his plans — told him he would apply to Cooper Union.
Failure was impossible.
Fork in the road: Cooper Union.
Graphics teacher told him he didn’t have much talent, but he had the determination to figure out what to do.
Fork in the road: Ann Jonas followed him to Germany and they got married.
Included a book for children in his portfolio. — A to Z
First rejections were in German
Fork in the road: Freelance work.
Failure was impossible.
Fork in the road: Find something only you can do.
Fork in the road: Began to think about his picture books. Freight Train
First book as a full-time children’s book creator.
Parade has a cameo of himself.
Led to Big Mama’s, and now black people fundamental to the books.
Also encouraged Ann to try children’s books.
She supplied the courage to try to be successful artists in New York.
He unreservedly shares any honor with her.

Afterward, a highlight is going through the Receiving Line and getting to congratulate all the Award Winners in person.

ALA 2013 – Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet!

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Sunday night – Time for the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet!

This year, ALSC was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, so they had encouraged people to come in costume. I simply added a bell around my neck. If you could hear it, you still had the magic.

The backdrop for the above photo is from the illustration created by Randolph Caldecott on which the front of the medal is based.

I tried to take pictures of many people I saw in costume, but I didn’t write down all the names. If you know someone in a picture, let me know who it is in the comments!

First, Monica Edinger with a newspaper hat from Black and White. (And you can also let me know if I get the book references wrong!)

Then I got a picture of Monica with Roxanne Feldman, who was in a full newspaper costume.

I know I’ve met this nice person and gotten her name. She had badges with covers from ALL the Caldecott Medal winners! (And do you recognize the red balloon from A Sick Day for Amos McGee?)

They go all the way around!

Here’s Mary Ann Scheuer as an exquisite Olivia. I believe she’s with Kelly Celia (from Walden Pond Press)’s husband. I think his name is Eric. He’s a teacher, and was a nice addition to the children’s book crowd.

(Again, please correct me in all my photo identifications in the comments!)

Here’s Chelsea Couillard-Smith with cutouts from Lois Ehlert’s Color Zoo!

And here’s a fabulous Jumanji costume! (Anyone know this clever person’s name?)

Paul Zelinsky is again wearing his so-appropriate Rapunzel tie. He’s being interviewed by Betsy Bird, who explained her complete Caldecott medal-and-honors honoring costume on her own blog.

And my friend with the 75 badges got the red carpet treatment, being interviewed by Jim Averbeck:

Then I simply had to get a picture of the Queen of the Wild Things. Her badge says she’s Carol Phillips:

And once I saw that fine backdrop, I had to have my own new Facebook profile picture taken:

Then it was time for the meal. I got to sit with Cara Frank, whom I just met — but knew from Twitter. Here’s the important part of the meal:

In the break after the meal and before the speeches, I had to get a picture of the person sitting next to me, Leslie, an editor from Vizmedia. She was wearing a lovely tribute to Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. (I like the way the colors went with the room, too!)

Finally, the speeches! Here’s Jon Klassen giving his acceptance speech for the Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat.

I loved this quote from Jon Klassen:
“Storytelling in any form is a hopeful thing to do.”

I found most of the pictures I took of Honor winners were blurry or a little bit boring. But isn’t this picture cute of Laura Amy Schlitz accepting her Honor award from the Newbery Chair? I love the twinkle in her eyes!

Then came Katherine Applegate with her Newbery Acceptance Speech.

I’m pretty sure I caught her reading from one of her early efforts — a steamy Harlequin Temptation Romance. I loved her sense of humor about her career and these quotes:

“Writing is excruciating and writing is exhilarating.”

And especially:
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Finally, Katherine Paterson accepted the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement. She moves a lot when she talks, and I was not able to get an unblurry picture of her.

She talked about how this award has come to her “by virtue of your most honorable shadows.”

At the end of all the inspiring speeches, we get to join the receiving line and congratulate the winners in person. I saw more people I knew in that line. I was kicking myself for not getting a picture of John Schumacher, Travis Jonker, Eric Carpenter, and Colby Sharp all together in line. Yay for the Kidlit men! 🙂

It was a marvelous evening, and the committee who put together the 75th anniversary activities can congratulate themselves for a job well-done!

This is my sixth ALA2013 post. Still to come are Monday’s programs and then the Printz Awards Reception. So much good stuff spinning in my mind!

Sondy for Newbery!

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

It’s official! I’m on the ballot for next year’s Newbery committee!

Here I am at the 2010 Newbery Banquet. I’m such a Newbery-geek, any contact with the awards process thrills me!

Here’s the scoop. Each year, a committee chooses the “most distinguished contribution” to American literature for children. The committee is made up of fifteen people, eight of whom are voted on by members of ALSC, the Children’s Services division of the American Library Association. There are sixteen names on the ballot.

Why should you vote for me, Sondra Eklund?

Besides being an avid reader of children’s books all my life, I’ve been writing book reviews in Sonderbooks since 2001, thinking about why certain books are good.

When I discovered Heavy Medal blog a few years ago, and they posted the Newbery criteria and guidelines, I couldn’t keep myself from printing out and reading every word. I realized then how much the whole thing fascinated me. Since then, I avidly follow Heavy Medal, and have learned much from Jonathan and Nina about the Newbery Medal and the process of choosing the winners.

When ALA offered online classes, I took one on the Newbery Medal, one on the Caldecott Medal, and one on the Printz Award.

Last January, I had the privilege of attending the William Morris Seminar, an entire day of training about the process of book evaluation committees. I’m ready to carry out what I’ve learned!

Last year, I joined Capitol Choices, a DC-area group that chooses about a hundred of the best children’s books of the year. They meet monthly to discuss great books, and it gave me practice being in a formal book-discussion setting.

Last year I also got to be a first round judge for the Cybils Awards, in the category of Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction. I figured it would help me find out if I like spending all my spare time intensely reading children’s books. (I loved it!)

I’m involved in ALSC, a member of the Children and Technology Committee for the past two years.

I am currently Youth Services Manager at City of Fairfax Regional Library, a large public library in northern Virginia. Last year, I started a Mock Newbery Club. I hope to keep it up to get feedback on how actual kids feel about the new books being published.

In 2008, 2009, and now 2013, I’ve been on our county’s Summer Reading Selection committee, selecting a list of books to promote for Summer Reading.

What’s more, this would be a great time in my life to devote to children’s books. My youngest son just headed off to college, so I’m living alone. I’m moving into a lovely new home next month. No more cooking and cleaning for kids! I am ready to devote all those spare hours to reading children’s books! 🙂

So, any ALSC members out there, make my dream come true! Vote for Sondra Eklund for Newbery Committee!

And Thank You from the bottom of my heart!

Conference Corner – 2012 Morris Seminar – Panel Discussion and More

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

I’m awfully behind on posting notes from conferences. And there’s definitely added value if I share what I’ve learned. So – I’ve decided to attempt a weekly feature – Conference Corner – to share what I’ve learned at conferences. It will be awhile before I catch up, especially since I’m going to ALA Annual Conference next month, and I still haven’t finished talking about the Morris Seminar, ALA Midwinter Meeting, and PLA Biennial Conference.

One of the highlights of the Morris Seminar, a one-day seminar offered by ALSC to train people to be on book evaluation committees, was when we got into groups and practiced what we’d learned with books we’d read ahead of time. Here’s a picture of part of the group I was with. You can at least tell we were all having fun!

After lunch, we listened to a Panel Discussion featuring past committee chairs from some different ALSC Award committees: Martha Walker, from the Pura Belpre committee; Julie Roach, from the Geisel committee; Mary Burkey, from the Odyssey committee; Rita Auerbach, from the Caldecott committee; and Cyndi Richey, from the Newbery committee.

I took down some rather haphazard notes about the different committees. Below are some of the things they said.

Geisel: You’re evaluating text and pictures together. The illustrations need to work for someone just learning to read. One committee member adopted a classroom to try out the books.

Notable Committees: These are open committee meetings. Everyone’s equal when you walk through the door. You can learn about book evaluation by listening to these committees.

Audiobook evaluation: Assume the book is good. Now look at the narrator and the story. You’re evaluating production quality.

Here are some things to consider about the narrator of an audiobook:

Was the narrator authentic and genuine to time, character, etc?
Does meaning come through?
Is voice consistent?
Are accents correct?
“He said” “she said” should be dropped.
Don’t want a “fake voice.” You shouldn’t perceive that someone’s reading into a microphone.
Also think about the production quality. Don’t let a story you love blind you to the way it’s carried out.
Recommended book: Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy, by Sharon Grover.

I took lots of notes about the Caldecott committee:

Rita Auerbach said she had less influence when she was the chair than when she was a regular committee member.

The function of the chair is to keep things going smoothly.

To be a good Caldecott committee member:

Participate in the discussion.
Read and respond on time.
Respect other members and couch concerns as questions.
Be willing to be cut off.
Don’t make up your mind in advance.
You can have an opinion, but at least be open to making your opinion change.

Picture books are difficult to discuss. Cultivate the vocabulary for talking about art.

Believe that artists, like authors, make decisions.

Think about the impact.

When discussing, don’t go through the book page by page. Use post-its to mark what you want to talk about.

Remember: There is room for interpretation.

“Most distinguished American picture book” does not necessarily have the most distinguished art.

How to prepare:
Read the books suggested in the manual, such as Picture This: How Pictures Work, by Molly Bang, and Show and Tell: Exploring the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration, by Dilys Evans

Your basic premise is that the illustrator has done everything deliberately. How does it impact the book?

What do you see? How does it make you feel?

You can consider text, design, and everything else that goes into the book.

Notes about the Newbery Committee:

Being on the committee builds mutual respect and trust between the members.

Look at the role models in your life and seek out opinions.

You will not remember what you read. Definitely take notes!

Best advice: Keep an open mind.

You’ll look at Suggestions and Nominations.

“Read while you eat. That’s called ‘reating.’”

This will be your most professionally satisfying experience because everyone’s read the same books.

To get prepared, attend a Notable Books discussion.

You can’t even have an appearance of a breach of confidentiality or conflict of interest.

Be on the lookout for other critical discussions. (This is why I’ve joined Capitol Choices.)

This is a literary award for literature for a child audience.

Recommended: Books by Lee Gutkind on creative nonfiction, From Cover to Cover, by K. T. Horning

It’s so important to listen! And listen without frowning.

Being in a committee will help you to use and hone your skills. You’ll use them for a lifetime.

The Newbery – Caldecott – Wilder Banquet – ALA Annual Conference Day Three

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

To me, the highlight of ALA Annual Conference is the Newbery – Caldecott – Wilder Banquet. I guess it goes back to when I was first actually writing things to submit for publication. At the time Writer’s Digest had a t-shirt that said “Pulitzer Prize Winner (in training).” I’d never heard of a writer for children winning a Pulitzer, so that shirt didn’t catch my imagination. But I thought of a t-shirt that would have thrilled me: “Newbery Medal Winner (in training).”

No, I really don’t expect to ever win the Newbery Medal. Not at all. But if I ever daydream wild dreams, that’s where mine go.

I was so delighted when I started subscribing to Horn Book Magazine years and years ago and discovered that they print the winners’ speeches. I saved all those copies so I’d have past speeches to study if I ever won!

And my writer’s critique group made a pact that the first one of us to win the Newbery would pay for the other three to come to the Banquet! (No, we don’t expect to ever be called on to do this, but it’s a fun pact!)

So when ALA Annual Conference was in DC in 2007 and I found out you could get tickets to the Newbery Banquet, I was thrilled to do so. Susan Patron was the Newbery winner that year and David Wiesner the Caldecott winner, and I was completely enthralled by their speeches.

Last year it was again in DC, and I attended again and met lots of authors during the cocktail hour before.

This year, my plan was again to do lots of schmoozing before. I had bought a new dress, but decided to wear my red dress from last year. Actually, I think more people remembered me that way!

However, when I was all dressed up and ready to walk around the corner and a block down to where the Banquet was being held — there was a torrential downpour! I went back to my room for my umbrella, then tried to wait out the storm — to no avail. Finally, I ventured out with the umbrella and made it with only wet feet. Not as much fun as schmoozing with authors, but there was still a little time for that.

And first, I saw my fellow Children and Technology committee members, Travis Jonker from 100 Scope Notes, and John Schumacher from Mr. Schu Reads. I’d met Travis the night before, and he introduced me to John. They’re both very nice, and I love seeing men as Elementary School Librarians (Good ones, too! — You can tell from their blogs.) You can see why I wanted a picture with them, all dressed up:

Last year, I met author Jim Averbeck, since he was at another table organized by our mutual friend Susan Kusel. So I went in quest of another picture with him (as long as I was getting pictures with good-looking men, he came to mind quickly). Well, he was doing his Red Carpet Interviews, and he asked if I wanted to be interviewed! So I decided that an interview trumped a simple picture. (Though I did find myself feeling like the writers who were in the Library of the Early Mind movie — wishing I could edit my words.)

Then I saw James Kennedy. I’d met him last year and had bought his book — And I started reading it on the plane. So I told him this, and that I was really enjoying it. I ended up tweeting about it as I read on — so I was happy that I really did find it brilliant and funny!

Here I am with James Kennedy:

Well, I was about running out of time, but I again saw Maureen Johnson, together with Ingrid Law, both of whom I’d gotten books signed by earlier that day. I kind of apologized to Maureen for running into her so much, and she was very nice about it. She even got things around to my own writing. She said the key to getting published is persistence, which is a good word! I became more her fan than ever. She’s so nice!

At the banquet, I’d gotten into a table organized by Sharron McElmeel of McBookWords, and had some very distinguished dinner companions.

On my immediate left were Kay Weisman and Shirley Duke, both delightful conversationalists:

Here’s Sharron with her lovely granddaughter Aubrey:

Here are Arianna Lechan and Deb Logan (Sorry for the blur!):

And then Anastasia Suen, Wendy Stephens, and Susan Polos:

You can tell everyone was having a great time!

Then the speeches! This year both the Newbery and Caldecott winners won on their first book. I was expecting extra emotional speeches, and I was not disappointed!

Most of the pictures I took were too blurry to show, but I did get a few fun ones. (The key is taking LOTS!)

Here’s David Ezra Stein collecting his Caldecott Honor Award for Interrupting Chicken:

And here’s Erin Stead giving her Acceptance Speech for the Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee:

Her speech was emotional and beautiful, with her sniffling most of the way through. (It was sweet!) She talked about a “huge planet of gratefulness.” The story of how she came to illustrate A Sick Day for Amos McGee is very moving. As Erin said, it’s so appropriate that it’s a “book about having good and loyal friends.” She actually hadn’t done any drawing at all for three years.

Her husband wrote A Sick Day for Amos McGee, but it began this way:

“At the end of the third year, I was unable to ignore the fact that without drawing, a part of me was missing. With a lot of patience and encouragement from Philip, I began to draw a picture that had been knocking around in my head for years. I did it at the kitchen table so as to not overwhelm myself, a little bit at a time. It was a very tiny drawing.

“It was a drawing of an old man and an elephant.

“It is a tremendous gift to have people in your life that know better than you.”

Her husband and his editor were the ones who convinced her to do the book. So everyone owes them a thank-you!

I also loved what she said about picture books:

“I never grew out of picture books. I believe in them. A picture book allows a child ownership of art — even if it’s just for the two weeks they check it out of the library. That book is theirs. I’m not sure any other art form replicates that feeling.”

“I believe the best books translate through time because they tug at something true within us.”

“Books are my home. When I walk into a bookstore, or a library, or crack the spine of a new book, I am home. These are personal experiences to me because there are people behind all of them. And so, I try to make personal experiences. I will continue to try to make honest pictures. I make art with my hands. It has flaws, but so do I.”

“I believe there is an infinite beauty in the limitations of paper books…. The more flash and whiz-bang we add, the more we limit the possibiloities of our own imagination. Books are simple. They must be felt. The copies of my very favorite books are not pristine. They are worn and dog-eared and a little bit dirty because they are loved.”

Then they gave out the Newbery Honor Awards. I love the exuberance of Rita Williams-Garcia:

Clare Vanderpool gave another moving speech for her Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech:

She talked about the spirit she gained from her family that enabled her to write a book:

“Their approach to life is what gave me the wherewithal to write a book. To work hard at it. To try and try again after many attempts and many rejections. Figure it out. Make it work. Keep at it. Their confidence and their optimism allowed me to dream big and set lofty goals.

“But even with that spirit, that optimism, that determination, I never set out to win a Newbery. I never even dreamed of it. And I have always dreamed big! Just not that big.”

Like me, Clare Vanderpool was in a writers’ critique group for many years where she was the only “yet to be published” writer in the group. She said, “Without them I would still be an aspiring writer.”

I love this analogy: “Someone asked me recently if winning the Newbery is as wonderful as having a baby. That analogy falls a bit short, but it is like having a baby if you didn’t know you were pregnant.”

About her book, Moon Over Manifest, she said, “I knew I wanted to write a story about place and about home from the perspective of a young girl who didn’t have a home.”

“I try to approach my writing the same way I approach everything else in my life. Work hard at it and have fun with it. Enjoy the experience.”

“What is a true place? What would a true place be for someone who had never lived anywhere for more than a few weeks or months at a time?”

“And story — the way we give voice to our laughter and tears.”

“Your story touches mine and mine mingles with yours, and as writer and reader we throw in our own ingredients to the story pot to simmer and stew, to make something new, something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Finally, the last speaker was the distinguished and very experienced Tomie dePaola, giving the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal Acceptance Speech:

Tomie’s speech was a lot of fun. He explained how his career began when he was four years old:

“Even though no one asked me, I announced, ‘When I grow up, I am going to be an artist. I’m going to write stories and draw pictures for books, and I’m going to sing and tap-dance on the stage.”

“Every chance I got over the next few years, I would tell the grownups around me what the future held for me, and they all took me seriously.”

He mentions people who nurtured little Tomie: Art teacher, tap-dancing teacher, parents, grandparents, and a librarian.

I love it that when he finally got his big break and an illustration assignment for a picture book, “There was a hitch. I also had a job for ten weeks in Provincetown for — you guessed it — a musical revue in which I would sing and dance on the stage.” So little Tomie had his whole dream come true!

One of his early reviews said, “Good facts, but the illustrations by first time illustrator dePaola are far too imaginative for a science book.” He was thrilled.

And I love this image: “This is what I do. I call little four-year-old Tomie to sit on my lap when I write and when I draw. He tells me what is true.”

What a beautiful evening! I’ll plan to begin blogging about the 4th and last day of ALA Annual Conference 2011 tomorrow.