Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Ashley Bryan with my hubby, Chuck
On Tuesday morning, May 15, Chuck and I drove into Toronto with the rest of rush hour traffic. We found the convention center and the Boyds Mills Press booth and voila! – there I rubbed elbows with some of the finest folks in children’s literature – both publishing staff and fellow authors.

Instead of naming all of them, I will simply mention Ashley Bryan because there is something about the soul of that man that just touches me. I was audacious enough to ask him for a private reading for my husband from HOW GOD FIX JONAH (which I’d bought for Chuck a few years ago when Ashley gave Marilyn Hershey and me a reading at an IBBY conference.) Ashley illustrated the book but you’d think from his ability to read the West African dialect that he’d penned the words himself. Hearing him read is like listening to a great piece of music.

Nancy (Boyd’s Mills publicist), Chuck and I attended the Young Adult Literature Awards luncheon. The guest speaker was Anita Lobel and what a fascinating woman she is! I loved that she was from Poland – one of my favorite countries. However, being from Poland during the World War II era (and being Jewish) meant that life was difficult for her. What an amazing story of survival (Auschwitz and more) and moving on to recovery and creativity!

It was fun getting to know Carla and Margarita - the award winners who sat on either side of me during lunch. I really like other writers! (See their titles and award categories below.)

The moment in which I accepted my award is mostly a blur. But I did notice that in addition to the check, I received a little box. (I didn’t know there was more to this prize than money!) All during Anita Lobel’s speech I resisted the urge to peak in that little box. Then after the luncheon I got involved in picture taking and left the banquet hall without my brand new award. (Call me easily distracted!) Thankfully Cathy Kim tracked me down in the hallway and presented it a second time!

The box contained a chunky little medal. It’s beautiful – and heavy too! Oh, and there’s a new seal on my book now!

Well my favorite part of the day has to have been meeting several of the committee members who chose BLUE for the award. It’s a little heady to meet people who know children’s literature and really like my book!

Nancy hosted a dinner party for me in the evening – more children’s literature folks attended. What a great little crowd! Everyone was so gracious. Cathy Kim, who is chair of the book award committee, was there. (Deeeelightful lady!) I wish there’d been more time to get acquainted with all of these people because each has a fascinating career in children’s literature in addition to having been super encouraging to me on a big day in my own career.


  1. What a fascinating post. Chuck looks quite pleased to have met and "heard" Ashley Bryan. And Mr. Bryan looks very kind and happy to have filled your requests.

    WOW!!!! Your medal is beautiful. What an honor. I am sure there will be more to follow.


  2. Thanks, Jeannie - It was a fun day for sure.