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#alaac18 – Day 4 in New Orleans

26 Jun

I fairly flew to the Convention Center Monday morning. Apparently my happiness was evident because, After replying “Good morning” to the same greeting from I woman I passed on the street, she added, You are awfully jolly this morning.”

Of course I was: this was the day we handed out our awards, them met the honorees for lunch! This was the final event in a process that began over a year ago.

 

 

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Sorry about that last photo – maybe I was a little excited and I couldn’t keep my hands from shaking!

It was amazing to get to finally meet everyone and we got to have some deeper conversations over lunch.

And then the good byes started. Most people left that afternoon, but a friend and I were not among them so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening together.

Our first stop was the Odyssey Awards presentation for the best audio recordings. The most emotional moment of the event happened before the ceremony started.  A buzz spread in the room as Angie Thomas, author of The Hate You Give, arrived. As she walked up to Bahni Turpin, the narrator of the audiobook, she burst into tears and hugged her. This was the first time they’d ever met!

From there we visited the Hotel Monteleone which featured a revolving, carousel  bar, at which writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and William Faulkner passed some time. We walked on for a seafood dinner at Trenasse, where I had a delicious Crawfish pie.

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While in New Orleans, I managed to eat jambalaya, crawfish pie and gumbo. As you read this, I will probably be flying home. These two thoughts bring to mind that great Hank Williams song:

 

 

Of course I said yes

18 Mar

When the email came asking me to present at the Spring mini conference for local school librarians, of course I said yes. I’d once been the person coordinating that conference and knew how hard it could be to find someone to present on a Saturday.

When I saw the schedule I balked.

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Who would want to see my presentation when they can see a Newbery honor author? I wondered. I was half hoping and half fearing everyone would want to see her.

Regardless, I spent the week getting my presentation together. I put a link to our Sibert phone calls into my Powerpoint and then wondered about embedding the video right in the presentation. I was surprised to see there was no “download this video” button on YouTube. A quick Google search informed me I didn’t need to download an app, there was an easy way to do so. I was glad because I wanted the clip, just in case I ran out of things to say. By Friday night, I felt ready for whatever Saturday was going to throw at me.

I could have just arrived in time for my presentation, but, presenters attend the mini conference for free. As a morning person, it just made sense to show up early. I drank coffee and reconnected with some former colleagues. I attend a Makey Makey workshop for the first session to keep my nerves at bay. In the break between sessions, I set up my computer and books in the lab.

And then Saturday threw all it had at me.

“Adrienne, our author is running late. Is it OK if we start the second session later than planned?” one of the conference organizers asked me.

Of course I said yes.

And when she came to me again to explain that a communications snafu  had sent Ingrid Law to the wrong school, I was asked to present to the whole group. Of course I said yes.

Like most teachers, I am totally comfortable in front of a room full of kids. Not so for adults. I moved everything into the library and presented to the large group. I was a little nervous starting out, but was okay by the end, I think. I was maybe a little sweaty. I managed to fill the hour, and it was a good thing because although the video ran fine, the speakers didn’t work. In case you’d like to see the video, here it is.

 

Our Books – #alamw18

12 Feb

Here are the winners that my committee selected:

The winner is:

download-1Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner, is published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights. 

In 1961 on the seventh anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, 13 freedom riders boarded two buses in Washington D.C. bound for New Orleans. The riders were willing to risk their lives to challenge illegal Jim Crow practices on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

“Spare text, bold graphics and arresting photos combine to take young readers on a 12-day journey through the Jim Crow American south of 1961,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Tali Balas.

Larry Dane Brimner is the author of 200 books and divides his time between Tucson and San Diego. He taught elementary, high school and university for 20 years. Despite the seriousness of his many award-winning books, his presentations to schools are a blend of stand-up comedy and storytelling. He believes everyone has a story to tell.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected four Honor Books:

download-2Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One and published by Readers to Eaters Books.

Part biography, part culinary adventure, this vibrant and energetic book captures the essence of the LA street food scene. Graffiti-inspired art and hip-hop flavored text blend food, community and identity into a delicious feast for the eyes and ears that reflects the melting pot of America.

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of many award winning children’s books. She lives in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and tries to eat kimchi every day.

June Jo Lee is a food ethnographer and co-founder of Readers to Eaters. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she now lives near Seattle. This is her first children’s book.

Pioneering graffiti artist Man One grew up in Los Angeles, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount. He is a global leader in the movement to legitimize graffiti art.

download-3Grand Canyon, written and illustrated by Jason Chin and published by Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book.

Through magnificent panoramic illustrations, meticulously researched diagrams and lucid text, Jason Chin has created a book as grand as the canyon itself. Readers join a father-daughter pair on an imaginary hike through the canyon’s ecological communities, inviting readers to look at this unique natural wonder.

Award-winning author/illustrator Jason Chin lives in Vermont with his wife and children.

51xIv8iq+rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask about Having a Disability, written by Shane Burcaw, illustrated by Matt Carr and published by Roaring Brook Press.

In this candid book, award-winning writer Burcaw answers ten frequently asked questions about his life with a disability in a humorous and approachable manner. Carr’s brilliant photos of comically-staged scenes, along with family shots and outsized graphics, add to this book’s tone and liveliness.

Bestselling author Burcaw, a professional speaker and president of Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc., lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Matt Carr, based in Brooklyn, New York, has a background in photojournalism and has received awards for his visual storytelling.

download-4Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem, written by Patricia Newman and published by Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

Chemical runoff from California’s farms kills seagrass. But in Monterey Bay’s Elkhorn Slough, the seagrass is thriving. Why? Readers dive into the waters of the slough along with biologist Brent Hughes as he doggedly pursues the answers to this puzzling ecological mystery.

Patricia Newman has authored several books that introduce children to scientific exploration and discovery. She lives in Northern California.

The award was established by ALSC and named to commemorate Mr. Robert F. Sibert, founder of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Illinois. Sibert is known for his early work in establishing standards of bookbinding.

 

Members of the 2018 Sibert Medal Committee are Chair Tali Balas, Convent of The Sacred Heart, New York; Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library; Ericka C. Chilcoat, Merced County Library System, Merced, Calif.; Marna L. Elliott, Swarthmore, Pa.; Adrienne Gillespie, Beaverton School District, Portland, Ore.; Danielle Hartsfield, University of North Georgia, Cumming, Ga.; Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Debra Marshall, Farmers Branch, Texas; and Mary Michell, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library.

And the winner is…

1 Feb

The first ever Stoller Middle School Mock Newbery Club concluded Tuesday. Students voted, feasted and got to choose some books to take home with them. Here is what they chose.

The Mock Newbery Winner: Forget me Not by Ellie Terry

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They chose two Mock Newbery Honor books

Real Friends  by Shannon Hale and Refugee by Alan Gratz

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They are excited to see what the official Newbery Award committee selects on February 12th. You can watch the announcements live here. I’ll be in the audience, sitting with my Sibert colleagues.

 

Oregon Book Award Finalists – The YA Edition

31 Jan
The Oregon Book Awards honor the finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers.You can find out all the 2018 Oregon Book Awards finalists here. I have listed the LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE nominees below. Most of these are new titles to me – I have already placed them on hold.
The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 31st annual Oregon Book Awards ceremony on Monday, April 30
LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
 Judges: Rachel DeWoskin, Lamar Giles, Jennifer Longo
Kenn Amdahl of Eugene, Jumper and the Apple Crate (Clearwater Publishing Company)
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Kelly Garrett of Portland, The Last to Die (Poisoned Pen Press)
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Fonda Lee of Portland, Exo (Scholastic)
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Paula Stokes of Portland, This is How it Happened  (Harper Teen)
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Laini Taylor of Portland, Strange the Dreamer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
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2017 National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature

13 Sep

The 2017 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature was announced yesterday.  I’ve read four already. I have a few on hold, one ARC, and there are a few that my library doesn’t have yet. And the first three weren’t even on my radar.

MY TBR pile just got longer.

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of

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Robin Benway, Far from the Tree

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Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World

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Mitali Perkins, You Bring the Distant Near

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Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down

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Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

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Laurel Snyder, Orphan Island

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Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

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Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

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Ibi Zoboi, American Street

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A Radiant Evening

6 Apr

Just as Spring Break began I received an email inviting me to a dinner event on April 5th, with Caldecott  and Coretta Scott King  Award winner Javaka Steptoe.

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I knew he was going to be in town and visiting one or more local libraries. The invitation seemed odd because it came in my school email and I usually get these sorts of things through my personal email, which is the one I use for ALA business.

I hemmed and hawed for a day or two because that week was already busy. I  then told myself  You’ll regret this if you say NO, so I emailed back my acceptance.

So, last night, I said goodbye to Lucy again after her walk and dinner and drove to the Firehouse restaurant in NE Portland. I arrived a little early because I worried about parking and waited in the car for a bit before going in. It was self talk time. I didn’t know if I’d know anyone and sometimes I have to gear up for social events.

When I entered the private upstairs room, I worried because the two people already there had on conference name badges. Apparently, the American Bookseller’s Association’s ABC Children’s Institute   is going on in Portland this week.We made small talk and eyed the beautifully arranged room. More name-tagged people arrived and I worried I’d been invited by mistake. Then, my Sibert colleague arrived as did a few other locals on ALA committees, namely the Newbery and Caldecott. Altogether we were maybe a dozen people. Finally, Javaka arrived and the event got started.

I was seated next to Javaka for the first part of the meal, which learned it took him FIVE YEARS to make this book. I asked him about writing his speech for the Newberry-Caldecott Award and learned that he has already written it because he had to submit it this week and will have to record it soon. In, fact, he had to write two speeches because he has to give a different speech at the CSK Awards banquet!

Javake moved around the table for the second and third courses of the meal, but I was not without conversation partners. This was heaven for kidlit nerds!

At the end, we all got a personlized, signed copy of the book and, since there was a lot of food left over, a doggy bag! Lunch today will be delicious.

Thank you Javaka and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for an excellent evening.

The 2016 Cybils Awards

15 Feb

Well my term as a Round 2 Audiobooks judge for the 2016 Cybils Award is over. It was great fun doing something new, and listening to Audiobooks is a different way. The award winners were announced yesterday on the Cybils blog. But I wan to tell you about our winner and my nominee that won.

As a committee, we chose The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, for the Audiobooks award.

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Read by Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Adam Gidwitz, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, and Arthur Morey.
Listening Library

Nominated by: Katy Kramp

In a 13th century French inn, travelers including a nun, troubadour, and brewer, exchange stories of their encounters with three miraculous children who are set to be brought before the king for treason. Jeanne is a peasant girl who has visions; William, a teenage monk with incredible strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who has healing powers. They are accompanied in their adventures by Gwenforte, Jeanne’s faithful greyhound, who has returned from the dead.

Using a style reminiscent of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and the oral story telling traditions of the past,The Inquisitor’s Tale is narrated by a full cast of characters, each of whom adds a new layer to the story, building to a satisfying conclusion. The variety of voices and accents makes the unfamiliar setting come to life for middle grade readers, who will also appreciate the slightly off-color humor, a dragon quest, and courage of the young heroes. Along the way, listeners get to know the three children and the multiple narrators, one of whom is the author, Adam Gidwitz.

The book I nominated in the poetry category, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, by Laura Shovan, was that category winner! This is the first time one of my nominees has won, so I am rather excited about this award.

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When this school year ends,
I will have spent
one thousand days
in this building.
I want a thousand more
so I’ll never have to say
goodbye to friends.

From “First Day” by Rachel Chieko Stein

Eighteen narrators, from diverse backgrounds and experiences, tell the story of their final year at elementary school before moving up to middle school.  Their final year also corresponds to the last year of Emerson Elementary itself. The school is scheduled to be demolished to build a supermarket in their food insecure neighborhood.

The fifth grade has been asked by their teacher, Ms. Hill, to write poems for a time capsule to be incorporated into the new building project. The poems in various forms reveal the distinctly personal stories of each student and the classroom dynamics. As the year unfolds, students find their voices by organizing and protesting the demolition of their beloved school.

Of all the candidates for this year’s award for poetry, the committee found The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary to be the most appealing in its diversity, its capturing of the emotional lives of children on the brink of adolescence, and its poetic acrobatics.  Laura Shovan’s writing is masterful.  Readers will find themselves reflected in the experiences of the fifth graders.  A thumbnail illustration of each character accompanies the poem helping the reader further identify the character.  An introduction to poetry and poetic forms at the end completes the package.

Visit the Cybils blog to see the  annotated list of winners.

 

 

 

 

 

TGIF: A Monday Retrospective

13 Feb

It was a tough week. I won’t go into all the details. Suffice it to say, I was looking forward to Friday night. And not for the reason you think. Yes, it was the end of difficult week, but it was the night that Leah Thomas and Len Vlahos were going to be at Powells in Beaverton!

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It was a small but devoted group of fans who assembled. For us, it was nice because it was less formal. I got to reconnect with Leah and chat with Len, both of whom were William C. Morris Award finalists in different years.

They talked a lot about how they came up with the ideas for their current novels:

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Publisher’s Summary: Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone’s father is dying.

When Jackie discovers that her father has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, her whole world starts to crumble. She can’t imagine how she’ll live without him . . .

Then, in a desperate act to secure his family’s future, Jackie’s father does the unthinkable–he puts his life up for auction on eBay. Jackie can do nothing but watch and wait as an odd assortment of bidders, some with nefarious intentions, drive the price up higher. The fate of her entire family hangs in the balance.

But no one can predict how the auction will finally end, or any of the very public fallout that ensues. Life as Jackie knows it is about to change forever . . .

In this brilliantly written tragicomedy told through multiple points of view–including Jackie’s dad’s tumor–acclaimed author Len Vlahos deftly explores what it really means to live.

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Publisher’s Summary:Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods–no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity–and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can’t escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they’ve made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?

Both have some odd things happening in their book ( a brain tumor as one of multiple narrators in Len’s book and the Blunderkids in Leah’s). I bought both books and got them personalized. I got an arc of Nowhere Near You at ALA and had already read it. I will send the autographed arc to my twin sister. I’m planning on reading Life in a Fishbowl this week during independent reading time at school.

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It was a really fun evening and a great way to end a long week.

My never ending TBR pile

6 Feb

The TBR pile never seems to get any smaller. That’s not a complaint, just a fact. And a good problem to have.

Besides binge watching season 2 of Narcos  this unexpectedly long weekend,   I read two picture books from my pile. Bothe are  nominees for the Oregon Book Award’s  ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE.

First,was Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube. This is a sweet story about a girl overcoming her fear of dogs. This can be a difficult thing to do. I once brought Clara to the kindergarten summer school for migrant kids I was working in because they were so scared of dogs.

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Publisher’s Summary: Every day after school, Hannah’s school bus is greeted by her classmate’s dog, Sugar. All of the other kids love Sugar, but Hannah just can’t conquer her fear of dogs. Then, one day, Sugar goes missing, so Hannah joins the search with her classmates. Will Hannah find a way to be brave, and make a new friend in the process?

Next, I read The Otter, the newest in The Lighthouse Family  series by Cynthia Rylant.

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Publisher’s Summary: Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant brings the peaceful sounds, sights, and characters of the coast vividly to life in the sixth book of the Lighthouse Family series, in which the family assists an otter in need.

On a lovely summer day, the lighthouse family hears the bell on the fog buoy ringing. It is an otter, whose sister is trapped in an old fishing net! With the help of some friendly dolphins and sawfish, the lighthouse family devises a plan to free the trapped otter—and makes two new friends along the way.

 

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