Sunday started re-eally early with the Coretta Scott King Awards breakfast. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I didn't fall right to sleep on Saturday night and woke frequently. Still, my body clock insists on waking me in the early morning hours.
I had planned on walking to the hotel and left plenty of time for the walk but then I had a brain fart, misremembered the hotel, and ended up leaving later. On the Michigan Ave. bridge, I remembered where I actually needed to be and double-timed it. The hotel was nearly a mile away.
I arrived late, breathless and sweaty. The Grand Ballroom was PACKED, which makes me glad because this has always been my favorite award ceremony. I was so glad when the committee moved it from the last day of the conference to Sunday of conference. I've only missed it once (when I'm at conference) and I regretted it. That was the year that was the year Christian Robinson danced for his speech.
It's my favorite award ceremony because all the winners get to give speeches. Admittedly, it does make for a rather long event, but the speeches are always eloquent, classy, and inspiring. They also begin the breakfast with song. Now, I can't sing to save my life, but I sing Lift Every Voice and Sing, my voice sliding all over the place. How can I not?
I was searching for words to describe what sets this ceremony apart and Victoria Stapleton provided them, "literary church." Perfect.
Then there's Dr. Pauletta Bracey who presides over the event with dignity and calm. I always remind myself to bring tissues because I always cry.
And this year's winners! I had read most of the books before the awards were announced and they are wonderful. Nicola Yoon/ The Sun is also a Star; the always great Jerry Pinkney/ In Plain Sight; R. Gregory Christie/ Freedom in Congo Square. The joyous and frail, Ashley Bryan won both an illustrator honor and an author honor for Freedom over Me: eleven slaves and their lives and dreams brought to life. Illustrator winner, Javaka Steptoe for Radiant Child: the story of young Jean-Michel Basquit also won the Caldecott so his day was bookended with speeches. At one point during his speech, he broke down while speaking of his father, John Steptoe and, the entire ballroom, many with their own tears streaming lent silent support. My eyes are watering right now remembering.
I hadn't planned on going to the convention center on Sunday, but I had to because I forgot to pick up my Newbery ticket from the Junior Library Guild booth on Saturday. I was invited by Deborah Ford, who presents wonderfully enthusiastic webinars and travels about the country presenting workshops. I was so honored.
I had also learned that graphic novelist, Mike Maihack had a booth and was selling Cleopatra in Space # 3 & 4! I only had 1 & 2 on my shelf and needed to remedy that asap. At the end of the year #2 was left on my desk and when I checked it in, found it had not been checked out. I never say books were stolen, only that they have been borrowed without being checked out. Though five or so years ago, I did have one student who systematically stole from the graphic novel collection at recess, when the library was covered by a lunch paraprofessional. It was only when he was moving and his mother was packing that she found and filled a bag with books to return before they moved!
My but my mind is wandering this morning!
I checked back at the Scholastic booth and scored an arc of Jordan Sonnenblick's next middle grade book, The Sheriff of Sixth Grade, due out in late August. I picked up a few other books here and there, including stopping to get an autographed copy of Jeanette winters' newest picture book biography before heading to the Palmer House Hilton for the Simon & Schuster Art Luncheon. I totally forgot that she was going to be there! Now I have two but one autograph is personalized to my students.
The luncheon was fantastic! Marla Frazee, Brendan Wenzel, Peter Brown, and a display of original art from all the books.
I took a leisurely walk laden with books back to the hotel (over a mile) intending to take a nap but couldn't fall asleep.
I attended the LJ/SLJ Reviewer Party and got to meet some conference friends and make a few new ones, one of whom I gave the Newbery ticket I purchased and couldn't get a refund for. He was quite thrilled to go, so yay!
I will post separately about the banquet.