Yesterday was a l-o-n-g day beginning at 7AM with the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast. I try not to miss this event. I love the energy in the room. I love that all honorees give acceptance speeches. I love that there is an award given to recognize new talent (The John Steptoe Award). What a lovely way to mentor and nurture new artists and writers!
All the speeches were deeply personal and all were inspiring. The incredibly talented Jason Reynolds delivered two speeches for his two honor awards and they were two very different speeches. In the first, he reflected (without notes, btw) on his family and his place as a sensitive "crier" among rock hard parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The second was delivered with such passion and poetry that it washed over me like a tidal wave and left me stunned. I wish it was videotaped so that I could view it again. I hope to at least get to read a copy to digest what he said for deeply.
The great Jerry Pinkney accepted the Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award - such a gracious, gentle, brilliant man! My day ended at the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet, where Mr. Pinkney received the Wilder Award, as he should. He has illustrated over a hundred books, won 7 Caldecott Honors and 1 Caldecott Medal (personally, I think at least one of those Honors, should've been the Medal). What a body of work!
Several years ago, I had the honor of watching him paint at a workshop for ELL teachers at the Henry Hudson Museum. It was incredible to watch the painting emerge from the paper as he casually chatted to the bunch of us! Later, my own ELL colleague and I shared a unit we created around his Newbery-winning Lion and Mouse. We tried not to be intimidated by the fact that he was in the audience!
Of course, Sophie Blackall's and Matt de la Peña's speeches were brilliant, inspiring, touching and just plain wonderful to experience. I cannot wait to relive them when they get posted.
I did not take too many photographs. There are tons online already. I did take a photo of the program, designed by Sophie Blackall.