Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Want to Thank...

Rebecca Stead and the other ALA medal winners are probably suffering right now. Big day comin' up in a couple of months, and there's a little matter of a The Speech.

In 1970, William Steig felt this way about giving his Caldecott acceptance speech (For Sylvester and the Magic Pebble): “I’ve been depressed ever since January & will not realize happiness again until after June 30th when my trial is over.” (The full text of his letter is at the Hornbook Archives site.)

And in yet another letter to his editor, Paul Heins ...
"I want to make more books, books good enough to win prizes, & I’m hoping that my inability to make speeches will not hamper my progress."

I've read through most of the Newbery and Caldecott acceptance speeches. Many of the speakers wisely laid it on thick when it came to praising librarians. One winner who apparently never got the memo was Monica Shannon (1935, Dobry). She instead delivered a very long riff on nature that never once mentioned librarians, the importance of children’s books, or John Newbery.

She's also the winner who nearly went to the banquet with her dress on backwards. Fortunately, the person who came to her hotel room to escort her to the banquet noticed it in time.

Good luck to all!


  1. Speaking of...

    I went to a state librarian's convention a few weeks back with my mom (who is a school librarian) and her librarian friends. Not only did I hear from and discover amazing writers (Susan Beth Pfeffer, Eileen Spinelli, Kate Klise), but I spent four days surrounded by people who love books and children maybe more than I do. They talked about what kids are reading and loving and why, what they want to see more of, where there is a need for certain types of books for certain types of readers they have a hard time reaching. I left with a reading list 18 pages long (and that's only for 2009-2010!) and a refreshing reminder that I write for young readers, not for critics, or for awards.

    And I got to see all of the librarians I ever had, including my elementary school librarian, who actually drove 18 hours to come to my wedding. I dream I'll thank her one day in an acceptance speech (which will likely be from a rotary club or whatnot, but still, I'll thank her.)

    I'm a big fan of librarians. Big.

  2. So am I. The other night at a literacy night I met a librarian who facilitates focus groups for her students to decide which books will be purchased with money raised through fundraising. She's invited me to come out and listen to their discussions and I can't wait. What do the real readers think of current children's and YA books?