Monday, June 30, 2008

Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet

I'll take just a minute to describe the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet, then go to bed. More about Sunday's ALA adventures, later.

This time I lasted from 10 am to 4:30 pm at the Convention. Then, loaded with bags of books I swore I wasn't going to get this year, I stumbled back to the hotel and took a nap.

Woke up with all the rush of the rest of the family getting ready to go have dinner with the Disney Princesses. (came back to find them all asleep, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out which ones they got to see there.)

Meanwhile I got ready for the banquet -- showing off my new dress to the family before they left. (The 8 year old was my fashion consultant when I bought it -- everyone approved.)

The people at our table were wonderful and we had great conversations.

The most amazing part of the evening were the speeches by the winners.
First the Caldecott -- Brian Selznick. (yes he is related to the great movie director of the same last name.)
I was hoping he'd show some of his artwork -- and wasn't disappointed. Suddenly the huge screens at either side of the room lit up with the beginning of his book -- The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Hugo sleeping. Hugo awakened by a telephone call. (1930s telephone) Next picture? A drawing of the head of the Caldecott committee on her phone. Still no words, but you know that it's "the call" telling about winning the medal. More pictures from the book -- Hugo joining the girl. But here's a change. They board a 1930's plane. Sitting on the plane -- reading Newbery and Caldecott books. (the books are the only thing in color.) Arrive at the Hilton hotel. A horseman rides by, the kids chase it and it evolves into the Caldecott medal. WOW!

Most memorable words -- It's the page turns that tell the story. A page is a door....

Laura Amy Schlitz was equally as amazing with her Newbery acceptance speech. (yes, I'm bringing the CD of their speeches home with me to share with my library staff.) She's short. She's a storyteller. Therefore, she rejected the idea of standing at the podium to read her speech. She stood to the side and, adopting the pose of a storyteller, proceeded to tell us stories -- all of which helped illustrate how she was overwhelmed when she heard she won the Newbery medal.

Most memorable words (there were many memorable ones):
-- story -- rescuing a child stuck on a roof by catching her as she slid off. The child hit her like a cannonball, much like the Newbery honor.
-- (having moles removed) Do you want to hear the real story or the interesting story? (the children remember the "interesting" story which is why she likes to teach history in story format, such as with her Newbery book.
-- (flying a kite) The string is the most important part. We (writer, editor, publisher, bookseller -- all committed to giving the best to children) we all dance together on one string.

I shared a cab to my hotel with Roland Smith and his wife. (one of my favorite writers whom I've known for many years online, but just met in person tonight) We discussed her giving the speech without notes and how she must have practiced and prepared, like the professional storyteller she is.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Wendie, for sharing your thoughts/impressions of ALA. I enjoyed your eloquence (and you didn't get ALL of it off the CD packaging) and humor. Sounds like a fantastic time!

kathleen duey said...

Great to see you at ALA, Wendie.

The speeches were the best I have ever heard at a Newbery/Caldecott dinner. and I have been to a bunch of them...!

As Brian was winding up, I was thinking, oh, dear, how in the world is Laura Amy Schlitz going to follow this? And then she began that first I am SO glad I went. I almost didn't.