2008 Newbery/Caldecott Photos!
V-Blog test 2008 is hereby declared a shaky success with enough foibles and problems to give me good reason to be wary about doing it again anytime soon. Of course there’s that Blogger Conference coming up in September . . .
Enough of that. Let’s look at fun photos from the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet festivities.
But before I do, I never had time to properly thank Kane/Miller‘s Sondra Santos LaBrie for taking out both myself and Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page for dinner on Friday night. We ate at a lovely little Mexican place in a mighty Disneyfied part of town. The food was ordered and came in about 3-4 minutes. It was eerie. No food should ever come that fast. It was automat fast, it was. In any case, here we are smiling long after the edibles were devoured and the sangria had started to work its magic. I am on the left, Sondra is in the middle, and Jen is on the right.
As for the Newbery, my heart broke yesterday. You see I’d taken some footage of myself getting ready for the event. Then, in one fell swoop, I deleted the lot. Most disappointing. Fortunately, what I lost in video I can almost certainly make up for in photographic pixels.
Before leaving for Anaheim an author sent me an email asking what I was going to wear. Last year, if you recall, my Newbery committee decided to wear red dresses in honor of our winner The Higher Power of Lucky. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, however, lends itself to no such formalwear. I wasn’t about to drape myself in medieval garb (though I’ve a friend at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume department who could probably give me tips on how to do so) and short of wearing something with heels, Hugo Cabret doesn’t inspire many options either. I had purchased a little black sparkly dress from Express and decided to wear some spiky silly heels with it. Hair down, make-up on, good to go, right? But the author’s question intrigued me. I thought about it. Pondered. Then came up with a solution.
I would make tattoos out of the winning Newbery covers and make a band out of them on my arm. How hard could it be?
So I hopped online, found that you can create temporary tattoos on your inkjet printer if you have the right paper, and purchased five sheets. Of course, I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay extra for the shipping, so the sheets made it to my home just under the wire the day before I was to fly out. Phew! The covers were easy to locate and print out and lickety split I had a whole sheet of the babies ready to go.
See that picture up there of myself with Sondra and Jen? Well, when I told them about my plan for Newbery night Jen nodded sagely and then mentioned offhand that temporary tattoos were great, but it was always hard to flip the images for the final product.
Flip the images?
Yes, dear readers, I had left out one crucial step. The images were not flipped. So here you can see (compliments of the same Jen Robinson) a lovely picture of Susan of Wizards Wireless and me displaying the backwards images.
Fortunately for me, unless you examined the arm closely you couldn’t necessarily tell that the pictures were backwards. Live and learn, I suppose. Next year I’ll just simplify matters and create tattoos of all the winners heads. People don’t notice if a mole or dimple is backwards. They just freak out when they see that you’re walking around with their faces on your shoulders.
Now one of my jobs before the event was to help Jim Averbeck and Maria van Lieshout as they did some incredibly fun red carpet interviews before the ceremonies. The red carpet was a bit of a red bathmat, but for our purposes it served. My primary job was to wrangle in people to interview (not that Jim and Maria needed much help, having secured several authors and illustrators beforehand). We got a great mix of bloggers, reviewers, editors, librarians, and more to talk to us. Jim and Maria even designed a little three-pronged mike that showed each of our "production companies". Spread out it looked like this:
Had my video footage survived you would have been treated to the amazingly difficult process of removing my tattoos from their sticky backs so as to place them on my skin. Needless to say, I went through the sixteen pictures I printed out pretty quickly. The removal process three days later? Like the world’s ugliest peeling sunburn.
Why did I only put Newbery winners on my arm? Because I was seated at the Candlewick table!! Yes yes yes, the Candlewick table! Oh, it was so exciting. I met Laura’s friends Sharen and Susan who were both absolutely lovely dinner companions. You know, even when I was at the Atheneum table last year I don’t think I was so close to the winners. How close? Well, with my poor photography skills, here is a picture of Ms. Schlitz rendered in tasteful black and white:
And here is Brian. I couldn’t get rid of his red-eye, so b&w it is:
My table wasn’t particularly far from Hyperion’s. Note the amended sign (the tiny words at the top, penned in by some pigeon-inclined yukster, rendered this a "Kick Ass
Not that I could be bothered to pay much attention to anyone since I was spending most of my time stalking Brian Selznick’s shoes.
Closer . . . .
. . . and closer . . .
. . . . GOT ‘EM!!!
I’m like a magpie. Shiny things please me inordinately.
Also pleasing was seeing Brian yuk it up with Mr. Mo Willems. Mo had recently done an interview with Maria entirely in Dutch… which we lost because the mike was turned off. Grrrr. Here he gets cozy with the big winner.
Note the gigantic spotlight pointed at the winners that could blind you anytime you turned your head a fraction to the left or right.
It is not a widely known fact, but usually at the Annual ALA Conference the Newbery committee members (and perhaps the Caldecott and other awards too?) will purchase a cool gift for their committee chair. This year’s committee purchased one for Nina Lindsay as well as for the actual honest-to-goodness author as well. here you may see Laura modeling her incredibly cool purse.
Laura was very patient with me. I believe that at the time I kept pawing at the purse whining, "But I waaaaant it."
Here too are the two winners chatting before they give their speeches (I’m sorry about all the pictures, Laura, but you looked absolutely splendid!).
And here is Brian modeling his very cool shirt, which may or may not win the Sparkliest Shirt Worn to a Newbery/Caldecott Banquet by a Winner (I’ve only been to three so other people will have to tell me if anyone else rivals this). The flash didn’t extend very far I’ve had to play with the colors a little. The sparkliness, however, cannot be faked. Check out that gleam.
Brian’s speech began with a magnificent series of images containing all the characters from Hugo Cabret. If I were less afraid of being sued by Weston Woods I’d find some way to place the presentation here. However, I am infinitely sueable, and shall decline.
The speech made me tear up, and that’s saying something. Particularly when you’re watching someone after having eaten a particularly mysterious dinner. I should have taken a picture of it. They served… I am reluctant to name it. There was a salad that resembled nothing so much as half an iceberg lettuce sliced in half and served in goo. The dinner was tasty but no one could identify the fried thing. It was fried. Was it chicken? Was it fish? We eventually decided it was chicken, but it took many tastes before this seemingly obvious conclusion was reached. As for the cake, I couldn’t quite make it past the frosting. That’s okay, though. The speeches made me forget I even knew how to digest anything anyway. Brian’s drew upon his past, his inspirations, but there were quite a few surprises along the way. When he started choking up and indicated that Remy Charlip HIMSELF was at the Scholastic table, that was the best moment for me. That and the Green Eggs and Ham story (oh, you’ll just have to read the reprint of the speech in Horn Book to read it for yourself).
I do not have any pictures of Laura from her speech because the minute she started talking I forgot I had a camera. Forgot I had a camera heck, I forgot I had HANDS. Storytelling is such a difficult art. So many people think it’s all gauze and flowery language and significant pauses. Laura’s storytelling speech got at the root of the talent. She made you forget yourself. She drew you into situations, places, and events and you went along willingly. As everyone now knows, Laura eschewed the podium and was miked and memorized. Her place near the end of the table was well lit, and I was rather charmed by the photographers that sat at her feet. They, if nothing else, gave the impression that it was storytime and our favorite librarian was here to give us a glimpse into the unknowable (the unknowable in this case being the winning of a Newbery).
Laura mentioned in the speech that she had once believed she would never have a chance at a Newbery and the consolation was that she would never have to write a speech (she said it better than I have here). After watching Brian and Laura together, I am very glad indeed that I will NEVER have to write a speech like this too. Because for years and years now, every Newbery and Caldecott winner who steps up to that podium will do so imagining that when they leave the world will murmur, "Well, it was good. But it wasn’t Selznick/Schlitz good, if you know what I mean."
Best. Banquet. Ever.
Filed under: Uncategorized
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
SLJ Blog Network