Did you hear shouts of joy at 8:28 a.m. this morning, Eastern time? That would have been me, screaming and cheering in delight as I heard the news that The Invention of Hugo Cabret had just won the Caldecott Medal.
It's been a busy day in the children's book selling world. There was frantic dictation as the awards were announced. There were hurried phone calls to distributors, publishers and reps to secure as many of the winning books as possible. There was scouring of bookshelves and overstock to find every last copy of every book that had just been anointed with a magic sticker. There were signs that had to be made, and books that had to be organized and re-organized to make room for the winners. There were conversations with colleagues about which books won. Oh, and there was all the other business of a regular Monday to attend to. So, it's been a long day.
But now, I finally have a minute to sit down. And here's the first thing I want to do: stand up.
I want to give a standing ovation to the 2008 Caldecott committee. I want to applaud you for making a brave and gutsy choice and for recognizing the most distinguished book of the year.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I wrote a very detailed post about why Hugo Cabret wasn't going to win the Newbery Medal, even though I really, really, really wanted it to. Not because it's not a great book, but because the Newbery is all about text, not illustrations. And Hugo Cabret is all about illustrations. And while Hugo Cabret was eligible for the Caldecott, selecting something that isn't a "picture book" would fly in the face of Caldecott tradition.
And yet, they did it. They awarded it the Caldecott Medal. Now, the book will be in schools and libraries everywhere and will be in print for decades to come. And it's an excellent, timeless book and it deserves to be where children can get their hands on it. Bravo to the courageous members of Caldecott committee. And, thank you.
Incidentally, when I put signs above the 534 page Caldecott winner and the 85 page Newbery winner today, it looked like I made a mistake. But I didn't... and neither did the committee.
Update: Now that I've had a chance to look around at other blogs, I see that several people commented on the huge ovation Hugo Cabret received when it was announced as the Caldecott winner. Although I was watching the webcast, I didn't hear the applause of the crowd. Why? Because I was too busy screaming.
Additional Update: I just watched the webcast again, this time in far calmer circumstances. I can't believe that I missed the unbelievable amount of applause that stopped the show when Hugo was announced. I must have been really screaming.
Yet Another Update: Here are my reactions to the other 2008 ALA awards. And, did I correctly predict the winners and have them in stock at our store? See my scorecard. And this post tells you where to go to hear the Hugo Cabret Caldecott announcement cheer for yourself.
One More Update: Nah, I don't have anything to say this time. False alarm.