One of the highlights was attending the 2006 Newbery/Caldecott Award dinner. I was seated next to Mark Teague, met Ann Martin, and Jonathan Winter at the table. But the best part was to hear Chris Raschka - illustrator of this year's Caldecott The Hello, Goodbye Window talk about his Peace Corp work and work that brings him satisfaction -- and of his efforts in 1991 to create a picture book. He told of showing up at his first "author reading" to find only 2-3 young children in the audience. But when he finished this woman in a blue dress came up and told of reading in the paper that Raschka would be at the store and she just had to stay over that night and be there to see him. He credited that person that person with gray hair and a blue dress with going on to talk about his work to everyone she could, to speak of him and his work everywhere. Such enthusiasm made his career and for that he thanked the lady in blue -- Karen Breen -- the current children's book review editor for Kirkus Reviews. Others who were there in person may recall his story better than I have here. I could listen to the CD of the speeches that Weston Woods so generously gave to each attendee. I could but I prefer to remember it my way -- and to smile to konw that many of us know Karen through her work in the field of children's literature and librarianship -- and Kirkus Reviews. CONGRATULATIONS Karen for making a difference in many ways.
I also loved the fact that Raschka called Norton Juster onto the stage for a little harmonica music - -a word or two from Juster was just the right finale for the evening. I think that should become a tradition. I have never understood why the author did not get recognized at the award. The criteria clearly state that the text MUST BE WORTHY of the illustrations. And if the illustrations are distinguished would that not make the text distinguished as well? Perhaps someone would endow a Caldecott AUTHOR award.
I enjoyed the comments made by Lynne Rae Perkins the author of Criss Cross the 2006 Newbery Award but the Caldecott Award was definitely the highlight. :>)
Another highlight was Monday night (June 26, 2006) when Marilyn Singer (and her "old" friend, Barbara Genco, Director of Collection Development, former president of the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) organized a Poetry Blast. And while I enjoyed the poetry of Brod Bagert, Calef Brown, Bobbi Katz, Heidi Mordhorst,
Joanne Ryder, Diane Siebert, Marilyn Singer, Jonah Winter, Janet Wong -- I LOVED the poetry and reading by Jamie Adoff. Arnold Adoff was scheduled to be there as well but he was ill. However, Jamie was FANTASTIC. Missed Arnold -- hope he is feeling better today but if he could have seen and heard Jamie chances are he would have felt better immediately.
Was able to have breakfast with Colin Bootman -- if you don't know his work look him up on Colin's site.; and talked, over lunch, with Elise Carbone about her new novel about Jamestown -- check that out at on Elise's site.
I met Bryan Collier, and several other authors including Rosemary Wells who autographed her book My Shining Stars -- the anchor book for a new preschool soon to open in Nevada -- see http://www.kekcorners.com.
Won't take time to gush about the fantastic food, the friendly people, and the enthusiasm for all things books that we all found in New Orleans -- but will say I've returned home rejuvenated, ready to work on all sorts of literacy projects.