Yes, I saw lots of my friends at work and play over the weekend at ALA, although my own presence felt circumscribed: mornings in the booth, afternoons at the Caldecott meetings, dinner with a friend, Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet, over and out.
I met a lot of you at the Horn Book booth, and I thank you for stopping by. The exhibit hall traffic seemed less busy than usual, at least in our neck of the woods, but not so quiet that I could wander the floor for candy and swag. The only juicy thing I heard was that Jailbird Hilton had successfully shopped a children's book proposal to HarperCollins, a rumored denied by one Harper editor who stopped by. Otherwise, all was peace. I did sign up a few more boys, including Leonard Marcus, Bob Lipsyte, and Ken Roberts, to write for our upcoming special issue on Boys and Girls; my job this week is to remind them of their perhaps rash promises.
I'd tell you all about the Caldecott meetings, but then I'd have to kill you.
Seeing the Big Banquet from the other side of the lights was fun. The food is exactly the same, with the only perk being that the waiters are more wont to refresh your coffee, perhaps anticipating the ripple effect of a sleepy speaker. As the Wilder winner was not on the dais, Susan Patron had to graciously divide her attention between me and Newbery Chair Jerri Kladder. It was fun--Susan and I went to the same college, albeit in different years, so we got to reminisce a bit. Susan is a native Los Angeleno, something that became apparent when the dais began unaccountably shaking during her speech, and she said something like, "oh, earthquake" and continued unperturbed with her prepared remarks. Both she and David Wiesner spoke well: he's an old pro at this now, of course, while Susan has the storyteller's gift of being able to make eye contact with two thousand people. Me, not so much--as I was awarding the Wilder Medal to James Marshall, my attempts to look between my speech and the audience were continually being interrupted by a photographer at my feet, who raised his lens every time I looked up until I finally told him to stop. It worked, less because of my commanding presence than because he got the giggles.
The thing I didn't know about being an award committee chair was that at the reception following the banquet you have to stand in a receiving line, shaking hands with everyone who had not had the good sense to run for the cab line. I don't care if I do live in Massachusetts, never, never will I marry if this is part of the deal.