Saturday, June 30, 2007

Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet

Where to start? This event was incredible...

I LOVED it. It was my first one- but I'm hooked now- I have to keep mortgaging my house to go again in the future and forevermore.

I committed the ultimate crime of not being invited by a publisher- and sat in the cheap seats in the waaaaaay back. The TV screens were essential... otherwise all I could see was David Wiesner and Susan Patron shaped blobs.

The good thing was that the people in the back got to the recieving line first- so I got to talk to EVERY author... before they started hurrying people along. I had talked to Kirby Larson at 10 am in the morning at her book signing- and when I saw her in the recieving line hours and hours (and tons of people later- for her) and she remembered MY NAME. Amazing. (And I wasn't wearing a name tag). I asked her how on earth she had done that- because she had met vast quantities of people that weekend- she said something to the effect of that she never forgets a fan- not one who loved her book so much. I had gushed all over Hattie Big Sky that morning- which I'm crazy about. That may have been the highlight of the night for me.

Speaking of Kirby Larson, it took a while for her to get to the stage after her name was announced.... and sitting in the way back I couldn't see what was going on. I started to wonder if she had bad seats too (which couldn't be possible) or if she had gotten lost on the way up to the podium. She cleared up the mystery with a very poignant post on her blog.

Jennifer Holm, author of Penny From Heaven looked incredibly glamorous. And she also remembered who I was! from when she visited my library school children's lit class. The Newbery committee chair mentioned that Jenny had had a baby two weeks ago (and she got huge applause)- but actually she gave birth TEN DAYS earlier- she was short-changed with the 2 weeks comment.

David Wiesner's speech was fantastic- I thought he had the right to phone it in- this being his third one and all. But he hit it out of the park. I saw him the next day at his book signing for Flotsam and said I was grateful he didn't title the book Cheese (he mentioned it his speech that he had briefly considered calling it that). He said he was grateful too- and thank god for his editor.
Here's the view from the cheap seats of David Wiesner... keep in mind that I had to STAND UP to get this picture. Read Fuse #8's post about what it looked like to those who were near the stage.

And Susan Patron- wow. Her speech was just amazing.... I was transfixed... and hung on every word. I had read Maybe Yes Maybe No Maybe Maybe- and that telling stories to her younger sister in the bathtub thing finally made sense. I liked when she paused for an earthquake (you won't find that in the recorded speech!) When I mentioned it to my husband later- he said- (and I can't believe he remembered this detail about her)... "she's from California.... she's much more attuned to possible earthquakes." I lived in California for two years... and yes... I paid a lot more attention to earthquakes.

They ended the banquet with the Carnegie Medal winning video of Knuffle Bunny. My three year old son LOVES Knuffle Bunny with an unbelievable passion. I had checked the viedo out of the library because I was planning on going to the Siebert/ Carnegie/ Geisel/ Batchelder award ceremony (which I miraculously made it to- the highlight was when Trixie Willems was carried up by her dad and thanked the crowd.) Anyway, my son watched Knuffle Bunny once and said "More knuffle?" Who was I to refuse? (It's only 7 minutes.) So he watched it again- actually TEN more times that night- and then the next night and then the next (well, you get the idea). So I've seen the movie approximately 495,267,922,589 times... and then they played it AGAIN while I was trapped in my seat at the banquet. ARGH! Although I do love it- and I was glad everyone saw it- I was VERY grateful when it ended.

What a wonderful wonderful evening. I can't wait for next year!

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