From my mail, it seems that the big children's book story from Chicago last week was SRA/McGraw Hill's cancellation of an appearance by Patricia Polacco at the International Reading Association convention there. Apparently, SRA/McGraw Hill wanted Polacco's speech to refrain from comment on the No Child Left Behind Act, a law that Polacco publicly abhors and one from which McGraw Hill makes money. Although her side of the story no longer appears on Polacco's website it can be found on Susan Ohanian's site; also appearing there is an amusingly lame attempt by IRA's executive director Alan E. Farstrup to disassociate the organization from the controversy.
Farstrup is right in that the dispute is a contractual one between Polacco and McGraw Hill, and to me it seems a case of someone not reading the fine print closely enough. But really: whose side is the IRA on? Shame on Farstrup for writing, twice, that Polacco was being paid for her appearance--just how much did McGraw Hill pay for its "Platinum Level" sponsorship of the convention?