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An ALA Kind of Day

Posted by Susan on January 20, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Awards
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Monday was a huge day in the children's literature world as the American Library Association's (ALA) Youth Media Awards were announced. Curious about what won? Read the full press release here.

Check out our predictions and see how we did. Here's mine and here's Pam's Caldecott and Newbery predictions.

Maybe you watched the live webcast of the press conference. Or followed the updates on Twitter. Or read about the results online or in the newspaper. Maybe you saw the interviews with the Caldecott and Newbery medal winners on Tuesday morning's Today Show. Or maybe, you're just finding out about it all now.

What to know more? Here's my in-depth look at some of the highlights from January 18, 2010. Wondering what all these awards are? Take a look at this post.

5 am: Committee members woke up and headed over to the convention center.

6 -7 am: Phone calls were made to the illustrator or author of the books that won or received honors. As I walked through the convention center on my way to the press conference, I could hear the shouts of joy and applause from the press booth as the committees made their phone calls. Check out these photos of Grace Lin recieving her Newbery Honor call.

6:30 am- 7 am: Multitudes of people (including librarians, publishers, editors, writers and me) slog their way through heavy sleet, freezing temperatures and unbelievable wind to get to the press conference.

IMG_4241.JPG7 am: A crowd starts started to gather in front of the Grand Ballroom at the Boston Convention Center.

7:30 am: All over the country, booksellers and librarians log into the live webcast. Some are just curious, but others are all business as they try to order the winning books the second they are announced. They're ready to pick up the phone or place an online order for anything they don't already have in stock.

7:35 am: The doors open and the vast, excited, chattering crowd full of anticipation makes its way into the ballroom.

7:40 am: Twitter starts buzzing with comments.

My People.jpg7:45 am: The press conference gets off to a rollicking start as the Alex Awards, the Schneider Family Awards and the Coretta Scott King (CSK) awards are announced. Marcelo in the Real World gets a great audience response as it wins the Schneider Family teen book award. There is thunderous applause as Walter Dean Myers is announced as the first ever winner of the Virginia Hamilton life time achievement award. This is his 12th Coretta Scott King Award. My People, a book that aches to be read aloud, wins the CSK illustrator award and Bad News for Outlaws takes home the CSK author award. Kekla Magoon wins the John Steptoe New Talent Award for The Rock and the River.

flashburnout.jpg8 am: The YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) awards are announced. Jim Murphy becomes the first winner of the Margaret Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award to be honored for non-fiction books! The crowd is delighted. (Check out his books, they're wonderful). The new YALSA non-fiction award goes to Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith. The YA Morris debut award goes to Flash Burnout. Onto the big one, the Printz award for excellence in Young Adult Literature. There's earsplitting applause as Going Bovine wins. Then slowly the realization hits the onlookers that Marcelo in the Real World (one of the predicted favorites) didn't win the Printz award or an honor. The audience starts to talk amongst itself. The booksellers watching from their homes or stores, get on the phone with their sales reps or distributors immediately to make sure they have plenty of copies of Going Bovine.

Book Fiesta.jpg8:15 am: Onto the ALSC awards. Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken wins the Odyssey Award. The Pura Belpré awards are announced. Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora, the founder of ALSC's Dia de los niños wins the Belpré illustrator award. Julia Alvarez gets the Belpré author award for Return to Sender. A Faraway Island wins the Batchelder. Lois Lowry adds the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award to her considerable resume.

8:25 am: Random House accidentally posts on Twitter that When You Reach Me has won the Newbery Medal.... 13 minutes before the Newbery is actually announced.

Benny and Penny.jpg8:30 am: Almost Astronauts takes home the Siebert Medal. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus wins the Carnegie Medal and the crowd is treated to a clip of the irascible pigeon. A few minutes later, Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! becomes the first graphic novel ever to win the Geisel Award. Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books are shut out of the Geisel (after winning two straight years in a row.) But hey, Mo won the Carnegie, which is his 6th award in the same number of years. I think he'll survive.

8:34 am: Time for the Caldecotts. I'm holding my breath, hoping The Lion and the Mouse doesn't show up as an honor book (which would mean it wouldn't have won the medal). Marla Frazee wins her second Caldecott Honor in two years for the beautiful book All the World. Pamela Zagarenski wins a Caldecott Honor for her wonderful mixed media and computer illustrations in Red Sings from Treetops.

lion and the mouse with medal.gif8:35 am: Drumroll as everyone waits to find out the Caldecott winner. And it's The Lion and the Mouse!!! Jerry Pinkney finally won the medal 21 years after his first of five Caldecott honors. There is earth shattering applause as the crowd goes crazy for this stunningly beautiful book and its wonderfully talented creator.

8:36 am: The applause keeps going. A picture appears on the big screen of the The Lion and the Mouse with a Caldecott Medal on its gorgeous cover.

8:37 am: And now it's Newbery time. A surprising number of people in the crowd are follwing Twitter and Facebook during the annoucements via their phones and laptops, so sadly, this is a bit anticlimatic since the winner has already been leaked. Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice wins its third honor of the day (it also was recognized by the Siebert and YALSA non-fiction committees. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a lovely historical fiction book filled with great characters, wins a Newbery honor. Grace Lin's beautiful and timeless book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon wins one too. The humorous Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg wins a surprise Newbery honor.

When you reach me.jpg8:38 am: When You Reach Me is officially declared the Newbery winner. This book is a bit on the older side (recommended for grades 5-8) and it's a fantastic, wonderful book with a surprise ending. The crowd goes wild as When You Reach Me wins. Rebecca Stead wins the Newbery 47 years after the book it was based on, A Wrinkle in Time won the Newbery.

8:40 am: The crowd in the room grab press releases as they slowly meander their way out. Tons of side conversations start. The crowd at home logs off from the webcast. Exhausted book buyers hang up their phones, turn off their computers and then race around to find every last copy of every book that won an award or honor.
8:45 am: A multitude of reactions to the awards start to get posted on a multitude of blogs. Listserv discussions begin.

9 am: When You Reach Me is # 613 on Amazon's list of bestsellers (this includes all books, not just children's books.)

9:30 am: The award committee members finally get to eat breakfast.

9 pm: When You Reach Me is # 23 on Amazon's list of bestsellers.

9:50 am on Tuesday: Jerry Pinkney and Rebecca Stead are interviewed on the Today Show.

10 am on Tuesday: When You Reach Me is # 4 on Amazon's list of bestsellers.

Wondering why I have exact times such as 8:37 am in this post? I ventured onto Twitter (something I rarely do) and tweeted my reactions while sitting at the press conference.

Medal stickersCurious about how Caldecott and Newbery books (and all the rest) get their shiny stickers? Here's the answer, to the best of my knowledge.

What were you doing between 7:45 - 8:35 am on Monday morning? Were you at the press conference? Did you follow the webcast? What about Twitter or Facebook? Or were you (quite understandably) asleep?

Got opinions about the awards? I'd love to hear them.


Ann writes...

I was standing in that line somewhere behind you waiting to go in when the doors opened at 7:30! Sorry that we missed each other.
One warning about the medal stickers...I have been told that if the books are in your personal collection pre-announcement, and thus have no sticker, do NOT add one. They may be more valuable in the future without the medal. And it shows that you knew great books even before they were acknowledged as such by juries.
What a fun day Monday was.....

Marge LW writes...

Great "you are there" description..I think you've caught the sense of what was all happening that morning including the crowd reactions - which are always a trip in themselves.

Abby writes...

On Monday our library was closed for the holiday. So Monday morning I curled up in bed with my laptop and watched the webcast and Tweeted along with a bunch of bloggity friends! It was not as awesome as actually being at the awards, but it was a close second! (Plus, I got to stay in my pajamas!)

Pam writes...

I loved hanging out with all the twitterfolk during the awards. I was originally going to watch the live video and was bummed, but it turned out to be fun following the reactions on Twitter.

sharon writes...

love this, I feel as if I were at ALA, thanks for sharing!!

Maureen writes...

I was sitting at my computer in my jammies, twittering and envying those who were actually there.

It's in San Diego next year! I am totally going!

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