Wednesday, February 4, 2009


So, here is some free advice to children's book authors and illustrators who know they probably will not win one of those fancy library awards: plan a school visit on the day the awards are announced.

Or maybe it should be "plan a school visit in San Antonio, TX." Because, that's where I was, and thanks to the lovely librarians and their excited students it was a fantastic day. I didn't even think about being a non-contender. I didn't even care.

And why should I?

I had wonderful and extremely fashionable teachers waiting for me and my Bringing in the New Year presentation with hand-made dragons--one even had eyes that lit up.

And there were the welcoming librarians, such as Kim Green the super-coordinator who not only organized my visits (I was there a week) but also organized an amazing Robert's Snow-inspired fundraiser at her school (proceeds going to Dana-Farber). See that big bag she is holding? It is all full of coins that the students brought in. There is a reason why she has to hold it with two hands--it is HEAVY. They were still counting when I left, they were over $600 at that point. Isn't that amazing? And that is just her school. All the schools I visited that week did some sort of charity, inspired by Robert's Snow. Wow.

And then of course the students! What can be better than a captive audience, thrilled to hear your book? They enthusiastic and attentive and, also, very sweet. Not only did they say the loved my books (and I was their favorite author ever), they even told me I was pretty. What are the chances the award-winners were told that?

Because, this is what we make children's books for--the children. As I've said before, kids loving your book(s)is truly the best award. Better than one of those stickers. Or at least close.