1) Congratulations for Justina Chen Headley for winning the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association Youth (APALA) Literature Award for Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), and to BRG Grace Lin for winning the honor for The Year of the Dog. Justina and I attended the awards breakfast on Sunday morning at ALA. I accepted on Grace's behalf. Grace, you were missed. Then Justina accepted her award and called me out as the editor for both her book and Grace's, and afterwards everyone congratulated me on my "sweep".
Congratulations Justina, Grace, and all the winners!
Justina and me, holding the newly "stickered" books
2) Saturday night was our fiction dinner, featuring authors Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl), Sherman Alexie (Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), and Jerry Spinelli (Eggs). This type of dinner was new to me, and I thought the format was great. Basically, there were three tables filled with librarians. Our publisher Megan Tingley made a little introduction, and then our amazing, tireless (as long as she has her Diet Coke or Tab) library marketing manager Victoria Stapleton explained how the dinner would work. Each table featured one author. First Sara Zarr read 3-5 minutes from her book, then everyone sat down for salad. Then the authors rotated to sit at a different table, and Sherman Alexie read from his book. Then we ate our entrees. Then the authors switched tables again, and Jerry Spinelli read from his book, and then we enjoyed our dessert. Afterwards, the authors signed copies for everyone there. So, a bit like our librarian previews. Overall, it was a fabulous evening: I was delighted to meet both Sara and Sherman for the first time, the conversation flowed, and the food was delicious, too (salmon).
Jerry reading from Eggs with Sherman Alexie looking and listening on
3) Sunday afternoon was our picture book lunch, featuring author/illustrators Peter Brown (The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder), Patrick McDonnell (Hug Time), and Jerry Pinkney (Little Red Riding Hood). We featured original art from all of the books, and then the format was similar to that of the fiction lunch, except instead of reading from their books, the illustrators all talked for a few minutes about their books and illustrations. And I'll add that once again, the food was delicious (I had the vegetarian pasta option that was great, because the meat entree was chicken with a mango salsa, and I'm allergic to mango), as was the company. I listened in on a fascinating conversation between two Texan librarians who explained to me to process of challenging a book in their library system.
Art on display from The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder
4) I attended the Newbery/Caldecott dinner on Sunday night for the first time. Peter Brown and Jerry Pinkney joined us, as well as Jerry's agent Sheldon Fogelman and author Cecil Castellicci who, along with Holly Black, is working on an exciting short story collection for us (but I'll talk about that more in the future). I had a FANTASTIC time. I sat next to librarian Nina Lindsay aka Martha (I'll add an amazing picture of her in her outfit, homage to James Marshall, soon.) David Wiesner's speech was solid--funny, touching, thought-provoking, and I thought Susan Patron's speech was absolutely amazing. An editor friend of mine warned me beforehand, "Did you see the CDs? The Newbery speech is 25 minutes long!!" and we were afraid it would drag. We also took bets on whether "scrotum" would be mentioned. Thankfully, the speech didn't drag at all. It was hilarious (she collected foam shoulder pads and planned to sew them together into a quilt), touching (she told of how she met her husband), fascinating (it was great hearing about the whole scrotum controversy from her point of view), and inspiring. And she mentioned Fuse#8 in her speech! (Betsy looked dashing in her red dress, by the way.)
Nina Lindsay dressed as Martha (as in George and Martha)
And that's my wrap-up for now. I had a post last week on my personal blog about the books on my Spring 09 list, so check it out here.
And on a personal note, I'm celebrating my fifth-year anniversary of moving to NY. Oh, NYC, how I still love thee, even five years later. May our relationship last longer still.
Senior Editor Jennifer Hunt and Sherman Alexie after his book signing on Saturday
the dessert at the fiction dinner--a very light citrusy thing
with Jerry Spinelli after his signing Sunday morning