Archive for September, 2010

2010 Printz Awards

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The final day of ALA Annual Conference — June 28, 2010 — was an exhausting frenzy of acquiring books!

I did go to some sessions:  One on Research and Statistics that I found interesting because of the practical use of math involved — but more applicable to academic librarians than it would be to me.

I also went to the ALSC  Poetry Blast, which was simply fun — hearing poets for children read and recite their own work.

I did catch several book signings.  One of the ones I was most excited about was M. T. Anderson.  I have been convinced he is brilliant ever since I read Feed, was further confirmed in that opinion when I heard his 2007 Printz Honor speech, and was absolutely convinced when I read Octavian Nothing.

I got to chat with him for a bit, and he had some insightful things to say about cuts to libraries.  I’m only a bigger fan now.  Here I am posing with him:

It was the last day of the exhibits, so prices on books got lower and lower until they were free.  I made three trips back to my car!  It was hot, so that was probably not smart — I was completely wiped out that night.  But it was a situation where I was simply incapable of resisting.

Here’s my son amazed at my loot the next day:

If I remember right, I came home from the four days with 124 books, 27 of which were signed by the author!  Very cool!  Here’s a closer look at the titles:

The day finished off with the Printz Awards.  I found a seat right behind Diana Peterfreund, author of Ascendant, and Ally Carter.  John Green’s in the row ahead of them:

The speeches were inspiring.  I love that at the Printz Awards, all the Honor recipients also have to give a speech.  They do a fine job!  We heard speeches by Adam Rapp, Deborah Heiligman, Rick Yancey, John Barnes, and finally the Award winner, Libba Bray.

Libba is full of overflowing exuberance!

A couple of good quotes from her speech:

“There is a place where amazing parallel universes do exist.  It’s called the Library.”

Laughter is defiance, but also acceptance.

“Every time you read a book, it’s a strike against ignorance… unless you’re reading Sarah Palin.”

(Sorry for those who don’t like that last quote.  I loved it, myself.)

During the reception afterward, I got to congratulate most of the winners.

Here I am with Libba Bray:

Here is an Honor winner, Rick Yancey:

And another Honor winner, John Barnes:

Finally, here I am with John Green:

After that, alas! my camera batteries completely died.  But I had great conversations with more authors whom I am  in awe of like Nancy Werlin, Rebecca Stead, Libba Bray, Laurie Halse Anderson, Linda Sue Park, Diana Peterfreund, Ally Carter, John Green, MT Anderson, and more whom I’m afraid I’m forgetting because I didn’t get their picture.

As I mentioned above, I’m convinced that MT Anderson is brilliant.  Several of us librarians were standing around him talking to him, and I think John Green got kind of jealous.  He’s used to being the center of crazy fans!  Though we were more than happy to talk to him, too.  Of course, the last time I went to the Printz Awards, in 2007, I heard both of them speak and was very impressed.

I went home from ALA completely exhausted.  What with three trips to the car loaded down with all the books I could carry in the blazing heat, and not managing to find a place to buy dinner — so only having cake — I woke up in the middle of the night and almost fainted.  I suspected dehydration, but maybe it was just overexcitement from a truly fabulous and memorable and inspiring weekend.

When I went to ALA, I had just spent my first week not working at the library, after being RIF’d.  So I was feeling very sad and discouraged — but ALA picked me right back up.  It confirmed that, in my heart, I AM a Librarian, no matter what job I currently hold.

I also felt, more than ever, that I’m part of a fantastic community of children’s librarians and writers and readers and bloggers.  They are my people, and it’s getting where I actually know a lot of them.  And that feels great!

The 2010 Newbery/Caldecott Banquet

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010.  I drove back into DC for the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet and experienced the highlight of my whole year.

I went three years ago, sat in the back, didn’t really dress up, and didn’t see a soul I knew — but still loved it.  This year was totally different except the loving it part.  Susan Kusel, founder of the wonderful DC Kidlit Book Club, got TEN tables close to the front.  I talked four other Fairfax County Librarians into going and was surrounded by people I knew from the book club or by reputation for their books.  And I’d gotten bold during the week, happily introducing myself to authors everywhere I turned.

And I bought a dress!  I ordered it, so it was a bit of a risk, but I loved the color and the fact that it matched the shawl I’d knitted so beautifully.  Here I am after the banquet, completely happy:

The evening started with stars of the publishing world milling around with cocktails. 

Here are School Library Journal Bloggers Extraordinaire, the two Elizabeth B’s: Betsy Bird and Liz Burns.  They are helping with the ALA Red Carpet videos.

The first night of ALA, I bought Betsy’s book,  Children’s Literature Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career, and I’d been carrying it around all weekend, hoping to meet her and have her sign it.  But alas!  Due to a sprained ankle, she didn’t get to the SCBWI Kidlit Drink Night, and the only time I saw her, at the Newbery Banquet, was the only time I hadn’t brought the book.

Betsy always wears tattoos in honor of the winners:

In honor of the Caldecott winner, The Lion and the Mouse, Betsy wore illustrations of lions and mice from classic children’s books.

In honor of the Newbery winner, When You Reach Me, Betsy has tattooed on important words that someone needed to remember from the book.

I hung out and watched the Red Carpet interviews for a bit, but they didn’t ask to interview me.  (Can you imagine?)

Here are two authors whose books I’ve enjoyed, Jim Averbeck and Laurie Halse Anderson:

I saw Richie Partington and introduced myself to him.  He’s one of my Facebook friends because we took an online class on the Newbery Medal together. 

Richie is also the sort of person editors walk up to and introduce authors to!  I was chatting with Richie when a Scholastic editor walked up to him and introduced the two authors she was with.  What was I to do?  I was NOT going to walk away, believe me!  So as the group was chatting, they naturally turned to me to begin chatting, too.  One of the authors was Brian Floca, a distinguished author and illustrator and author of the recent Moonshot:

By this time my friend and fellow librarian, Nancy Bronez, joined me and took the picture. 

Next, I saw Laurie Halse Anderson, whom I’d met at the YA Author Coffe Klatch that morning, so I introduced Nancy and myself to her.  Nancy and I both admire her work very much.

The next person I accosted was Jon Scieszka.  I’m a huge fan of his — as you can tell by my attendance at his workshop Saturday and my lurking to take his picture earlier that afternoon.  Now I was thrilled at a chance to get my picture with him.

Looking at the picture above after the fact, it strikes me as hilarious that the sign behind Jon, with an arrow pointing to his head says, “Restrooms are to the Left.”  Since he has a little boy prankster’s heart, smile, and laugh, this struck me as wonderfully appropriate!

The doors opened, and we found our seats and connected with the other FCPL Librarians.  Since I had just been RIF’d and had begun working that week at the Office for Children instead of the library, it was very good to see them.

Here’s Nancy Ryan, my branch manager at Herndon:

Even though Nancy is not a children’s librarian, I have converted her into an even more devoted Mo Willems fan than I am myself.  So when I saw him at a nearby table, we had to go over and introduce ourselves and get pictures:

First, Nancy and Mo:

Next, me and Mo:

Here are the other ladies at our table, two of whom are members of the DC Kidlit Book Club, Patty Reeber, Genie Bailey, and Susan Sikorski.

And here are the other four librarians from Fairfax County Public Library, Nancy Ryan, Gena Bos, Susan Fay, and Nancy Bronez:

And here we are all together and looking at the camera:

Next, more schmoozing.  First, I snagged some authors who were also at Susan Kusel’s tables. 

Sara Lewis Holmes is a fellow member of the DC Kidlit Book Club and organized the SCBWI Kidlit Drink Night on Friday.  I’ve reviewed her book Letters from Rapunzel.

Then I introduced myself to Jim Averbeck.  When I reviewed his book, In a Blue Room, I had no idea he was so handsome!

And next, I had to introduce myself to Tanita Davis, author of this year’s Coretta Scott King Honor book, Mare’s War.

Then at a nearby table, I saw the warm and delightful Soroj Ghoting, a speaker for ALA who had just done a workshop I’d attended at FCPL:

Then the presentation of the awards began.  The speeches were fabulous and inspiring. 

First, here’s Jerry Pinkney speaking about the Caldecott Award:

I think everyone in that room was thrilled for Jerry.  He has won FIVE Caldecott Honor Awards — and The Lion and the Mouse was absolutely brilliant.  As you can tell from my review, I wanted it to win from the moment I first read it.  And once I’d heard this nice man speak, I was all the more happy for him!

Then came the Newbery Award and honors.  Here’s Rebecca Stead speaking:

Rebecca wrote When You Reach Me, another book I was very happy to see win the gold.  I loved Rebecca’s speech.  She talked about knee-knocking joy and helped all of us experience her humbled thrill of this incredible validation.  Again, I got the impression that a super nice person had won an incredible award, and I couldn’t help be thrilled for her.

Afterward, it was time for more pictures with the friends I’d shared the fabulous night with.  Here are the FCPL ladies again:

Here I am with Nancy Bronez:

Here I am with Nancy Ryan:


Here are some cute toes belonging to Nancy Ryan and Gena!

And here I am with the Banquet sign behind me:

On our way out of the banquet room, we saw Susan Kusel, who organized getting seats at TEN tables.  She was still pretty stressed out, though, and couldn’t stop for long:

The expressions on both our faces made me laugh!

We wrapped up a beautiful night by standing in the receiving line to congratulate the winners.  The ALSC folks were very nice, and had someone in front of each winner to tell you whom you were meeting!  I figured it wouldn’t be polite to flash a camera in their faces when I met them, so I took a couple pictures ahead of time:

And another part of the line that included Rebecca Stead:

The whole evening was a peak experience for me.  I was thrilled to meet these authors I so admired, proud to be a children’s librarian (whatever my current job), happy to be with fellow lovers of children’s books, and happy to be a writer and determined to keep at it.  All in all, I was inspired!

Sunday Schmoozing

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Well, I wanted to blog all about ALA — and now it’s been a couple of months.  However, I really do want to relive it and post all the pictures with authors I admire.

Sunday after the YA Author Coffee Klatch, I was in a mood for author signings!  I went to several and got signatures but not pictures, but did get a few pictures with authors whose books I’d already read and enjoyed:

Here I am with Jessica Day George:

Here’s the review I’d recently written of her latest book, Princess of Glass.  I was happy to get a signed copy!

Another author I met was Tom Angleberger, author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

One session I did want to be sure to go to was to hear Will Shortz speak.  Yes, he’s a big famous puzzle guy now, but I remember doing his puzzles in Dell Magazines when I was a little girl.  (Sure enough!  When they talked about his bio, he worked for Dell Magazines in the 70s.)

I thoroughly enjoyed his talk.  He told some secrets about making puzzles, and ended off with a competition between the two sides of the room.  (My side won!  Woo-hoo!)  I had some signings I wanted to get to and didn’t want to wait in the long line after that, and he was signing crossword books, not logic puzzles or the types of puzzles I prefer, so I went back down to the exhibits.  But here he is signing books:

Back at the exhibits, I almost ran into Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka.  I couldn’t stay away from that!  I did some serious lurking and picture snapping.  I got to tell Jon Scieszka that I have more brothers than he does.  (Hey, you think of whatever you can say.)  And I told Mo Willems that I was wearing his Elephant and Piggie design t-shirt yesterday.  (Oh well.  He said he would have signed it.)  Oh, and I talked to Casey, Jon Scieszka’s daughter.  She was very nice, and I’m going to watch for her graphic novel coming out soon.

Here are the pictures I took while lurking:

Mo’s on the left, Jon’s on the right, and Casey’s wearing purple.

I always say that Jon has the smile and laugh of a mischievous little boy.  His daughter agrees that he never grew up.

I think they were discussing the Book Cart Drill Team Championships that afternoon, which they would host.  I saw them host it three years ago, and was very very sorry to miss it this time — but I was scheduled to go home and get the shawl I accidentally left at home, but while I was at it take a little nap and change clothes for the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet.

On the way back to the car, I stopped at a Bookmobile that had been set up with a project to record hundreds of people’s voices reading The Wizard of Oz.  It was a lot of fun — I’ve read the book aloud to both my boys and loved it as a child myself.

Imagine my delight, though, when the person who walked into the booth after me was Grace Lin, scheduled to receive her Newbery Honor Award that very night!  For the book Where the Mountain Meets the MoonI was so excited to meet her, the person reading ahead of me had to do a couple extra takes because I was too noisy.  But when the production is finished, I’m reading the page right before Grace Lin!

Here I am with her, thrilled to meet her:

And here she is reading her page from The Wizard of Oz:

So, like I said, I’m disappointed it’s taking me so long to post about ALA, but now I’m up to the highlight of the whole weekend.  My next post will be about the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet.