ALA Youth Media Awards 2015: My Heart is So Full
This post is meant to chronicle the slices of life that happened during my four days in Chicago.
On Friday morning I packed my suitcase and as per usual, my pug Frank seemed to think he was going with me:
This was my first time taking the Amtrak train into Chicago, and despite getting in over an hour late, I still enjoyed the 4 hours of extra reading time from not having to drive there.
Once I arrived and checked in, I decided against going to the opening of the exhibit hall because I hadn't eaten anything since 10:00 Michigan time so I walked to my favorite place to eat in Chicago, Xoco. Full and happy from my dinner at Xoco, I walked over to the Fairmont for a cocktail party hosted by Walden Pond Press. It was so wonderful to finally meet Debbie Kovacs and Danielle Smith, along with getting the chance to talk to Jordan Brown and John David Anderson.
|Me with Alyson Beecher and Danielle Smith at the WPP cocktail party|
Late Friday evening and again on Saturday morning I heard rumblings of a snowstorm coming to Chicago beginning on Saturday night. To the point where many people were changing their travel plans and abandoning non-refundable night stays in their hotel rooms to beat the storm. I, however, was staying until Monday so I was planning on riding it out.
Not to let a blizzard dampen our spirits, I, along with my fellow Nerdy Book Club friends still sucked the marrow out of life and enjoyed every ounce of our ALA Midwinter experience.
I was especially grateful to all of the wonderful publishers who were willing to talk up their books and help me find just the right books for my 8th graders. As a result, this pile is only SOME of the titles I will be bringing home to share with my students:
If Saturday we were in denial of the impending storm, on Sunday we were in hunker down mode. Many people who were planning on leaving on Sunday and hadn't left early to beat the storm got stranded, and for the third year in a row, a snow storm fell upon ALA Midwinter celebrations, which left us wondering why ALA chooses to hold their midwinter meetings in wintery climes.
What do you do when there's a blizzard and the city's practically shut down and the only place to eat at the hotel is a steakhouse with $30-60 entrees? Hoof it to Whole Foods a block away, of course.
And then came Monday, the day of the ALA Youth Media Award announcements. For a more detailed rundown of my reactions to the award winners, visit my book blog. Here instead are some photos to tell the story of yesterday morning.
Check out that insanely long line of children's literature lovers excited to hear the award announcements.
We are so happy to be here. The excitement is palpable.
And then the awards were announced. This was, by far, the best year to be present to hear the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. Screams, shrieks, tears, and standing ovations were the order of the day.
Dan Santat's The Adventures of Beekle won the Caldecott medal. Here are some members of the Caldecott committee posing with their Beekle crowns, proudly displaying the new winner.
We are all so happy for Cece Bell, who won a Newbery honor for El Deafo, which is the first ever graphic novel to be recognized as a Newbery honor. And in a twist of fate, both Cece and her husband Tom Angleberger were stranded in Chicago because of the weather and weren't supposed to be there the day of the award announcements. We are so happy she was there and that we were able to share this amazing, historic moment with her.
The outcry for more diversity in children's publishing earlier this year with #WeNeedDiverseBooks felt like a call to action, and I'm happy to see that the award committees this year responded. Let's make sure that diversity CONTINUES to be represented in these awards every year and not just because #WeNeedDiverseBooks brought it to fever pitch in 2014. Let's make sure the 2015 award season doesn't go down in history of the one and only year of diversity in children's literature awards.
So despite the fact that over a foot of snow was dumped on the Midwest this past weekend, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the book lovers that descended upon Chicago for such a historic event. I feel privileged to know I was there to be a part of it.
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