ALA update again

I should be at the ALSC Poetry Blast but the shuttle did not cooperate, so instead I have time to blog. It is a little disappointing but also a little nice to have some unexpected quiet time. Conferences are grueling.

Last night was the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet, always a great event. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s perfectly enormous, hundreds (close to 1000, I think) of dressed-up authors, editors, publishers, librarians, and fans sitting at round tables. It must be a very daunting thing to get up in front of such a large group and speak, especially for these two first-time winners, Erin Stead and Clare Vanderpool. Erin is very young and very shy and I can’t imagine what that was like, except that we all could see that it was moving and scary. She gave a lovely speech.

Clare Vanderpool, the Newbery winner, was a little more self-assured, but she too started crying when describing her parents and their optimism and encouragement. She mentioned several books she admires, and I wasn’t surprised that one was Richard Peck’s A Year Down Yonder, because I was strongly reminded of Peck in Moon Over Manifest.

Tomie dePaola received the Wilder Award for lifetime achievement, and proceeded to give a very Tomie dePaola speech–brash and funny.

Then this morning they gave the other ALSC awards, in which I learned that Nic Bishop is from New Zealand, that Sy Montgomery feels very passionately about saving endangered species, that Kate DiCamillo and Allison McGhee ARE Bink and Gollie to go by the way the artist depicted them, and that the English speaker of the year’s Carnegie winning video who sounds like a distinguished stage actress (think Vanessa Redgrave) looked about 20. In short, it was fun.

I also learned at this morning’s ALSC Awards that at my age (old!) I still get incredibly shy in any kind of setting where you sort of look around to see if you know someone. That part was not fun at all. I am much much happier when I have worked out in advance to meet with someone. I would love to be more bold and confident but I’m just not. Maybe when I am in my 60s?

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