Tuesday, June 27, 2006

And they medalled!

The heartiest hand went to ALSC's Local Arrangements committee at this year's Newbery-Caldecott banquet, and it was well-deserved. ALA in general did a great job, I thought, of handling the challenges of a New Orleans meeting, as did New Orleans itself. (This is the first conference at which I saw souvenir t-shirts for librarians on sale in local shops, God love 'em. Which reminds me of my longstanding favorite exhibit hall anecdote. Several years ago at conference, I watched a woman coming down the aisle. Each hand held overstuffed bags of posters, etc., and her badge was swathed with stickers and ribbons denoting her allegiance to various ALA causes and factions. She was of a certain age and weight and vision-impairment and her hair was all over the place. She wore a t-shirt that read: "NOBODY KNOWS I'M A LIBRARIAN." Uh-huh.)

ALSC President Ellen Fader graciously hosted the evening; glamorously, too, with her hair a subtle dark purple haze (go ahead, sing) to match her gown. Fabulous under the lights, darling. The best outfit on the floor was Nina Lindsay's red and gold leather mask; she looked like something from the infamous party scene in Eyes Wide Shut. When I leaned in to tell her that all her get-up lacked was a whip, I inadvertently whacked a poor waiter right in the shin with the heavy heel of my big-boy shoe, earning me murderous looks for the rest of the evening. I hope he didn't spit in my bananas foster. Still, it was delicious.

The speeches went well, and reminded me again of the difference between speech and print--I had read the speeches months ago, because we print them in the July/August issue, but it wasn't until he stood-and-delivered that I saw how funny (in a good way) Raschka's speech was. The same thing happened last year, where Kate DiCamillo's expert delivery gave a deadpan hilarity to her words (I should have known then that she could be scary.) Lynne Rae Perkins looked and sounded beautiful, but her speech has a lot of layers that I'm glad people will be able to appreciate when they read it.

While I miss the old "Stand and Be Recognized!" line that the Honors winners used to get, it was fun watching them parade to the stage; first prize goes to Shannon Hale, coltish in red, sprinting and beaming to get her due.

I had meant to continue this entry in the exhibit hall, where wireless access is proudly trumpeted but actually only spottily available if you go out into the lobby and sit by the door (get with the times, ALA), but will continue when I get back to Boston. See you then.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a delightful report! Thank you.

Reading in San Francisco

A Boston transplant said...

Roger, should I ever be fortunate enough to earn such an honor, will you help me choose what to wear? I would love to be called coltish!

Elizabeth said...

My own vote for best-dressed (and there were several contenders) goes to Caldecott Chair Gratia Banta, truly chic, glamorous and in ebullient in a strapless, shimmering orange gold gown that looked to me like it was made of silk shantung.

I don't remember an awards banguet of such good will. Both the speeches were home runs, I thought. I really enjoyed the movie shown at the end, the Carnegie winning film of the Man Who Walked Between the Towers (narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal and with music by Kevin Bacon's brother Michael) and usually I'm antsy to get up by then. But the piece de la resistance was Norton Juster joining Chris Raschka on stage to play Oh, Susannah on harmonica while Chris accompanied him on the accordion.

And speaking of Mr. Juster...I learned that his wife Jeanne was a protegee of the legendary Dial Books designer Atha Tehon. I barely know Mr. Juster (my childhood reverence for The Phantom Tollbooth is so great that I still can't refer to him by his first name), but I was able to introduce Atheneum author Susan Fletcher to him, and they had a long chat about...I didn't ask her what they talked about! But she was beaming. It just seemed like everything the ceremony should be. Good conversation, enjoyable and inspiring speeches, and a true mood of celebration.

John Peters said...

There are pictures of Nina and (shazam!) Russell Freedman in that mask on Flickr.com. Search for the tag "Newbery/Caldecott 2006 dinner"

John Peters said...

There are pictures of Nina and (shazam!) Russell Freedman in that mask on Flickr.com. Search for the tag "Newbery/Caldecott 2006 dinner"

Anonymous said...

That is Extremely Cool! Are there more photos of the conference available?

San Francisco

sdn said...

i agree with elizabeth -- it was one of the best banquets i've attended. everyone who spoke was humorous, thoughtful, interesting, and concise, and it was great to not have to hear what perkins and raschka were doing when the call came.

i'm sorry i didn't see you, but did anne q tell you i stopped by the booth?

Jane said...

Norton Juster is a quite wonderful and funny person. He is a neighbor, living in Amherst, and we have been friends forever. Or about 35 years. We tried counting it up at the Eric Carle gala two weeks ago.

Never be shy around him. He is never shy around anyone!

Knowing I was going to be in Scotland and couldn't spill the beans, he told me about the harmonica jest. He hoped it would be taken with the good will they presented it. And evidently it has been!

Jane

Roger Sutton said...

Apparently the audience was meant to use their gift-bag harmonicas to play along but no one quite understood that. Or, like me, they were saving their harmonicas for gifts.

Yes, Sharyn, Anne told me you stopped by. Sorry to miss you but will see you in Seattle (another song cue!)

fusenumber8 said...

OH! That's why we had harmonicas. And perhaps that also explains why Norton and Chris were making exaggerated movements so as to lead us along.

Perhaps next year we'll all get china bunnies at our tables and can simultaneously smash their heads in, as in the book. I would attend that dinner.

Roger Sutton said...

I love to bite they heads off, and chew they little feets.

Nina said...

The harmonicas were too hard to open--that sticky label was very sticky!

I very much enjoyed how suavely Chris got Norton Juster up onto the podium: clearly without previous permission, b/c someone would have put up a fuss just for the sake of a fuss. But it was very nicely done.

Best looking: the radiantly sobbing Karen Breen, glowing with love after being recognized in Chris's speech.

rindawriter said...

Yes, thanks very much indeed for sharing. And gift bags, too?!

And if Roger REALLY want to bite off hands and feet, I can most highly recommend the candy called Sour Patch Kids.....I am soooooo addicted to those things...my dentist said he was going to find me a sour patch kids rehab group and make me go--with twelve-year-olds. Tastier than harmonicas anyway....

fusenumber8 said...

"Love to eat them mousies, mousies what I love to eat. Bite they little heads off. Nibble on they tiny feat".

I shoulda bought that t-shirt when I had a chance. Too late now.

Monica said...

Once more with feeling--- I mean, music:

http://www.eatmousies.com/intro.html

Anonymous said...

oh, you ae all so CUTE