Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ALA, part 2.75

After the luncheon, there was just enough time for me to run to Listening Library's ( Where the Mountain Meets the Moon audiobook makers!) Lend your Voice mobile:This was a really neat event! Listening Library was making a "crowd-sourced" audio book of The Wizard of Oz-- anyone interested in recording a section could come by to participate!

Now, I have a little bit of a Wizard of Oz fixation. For any of you who have read The Year of the Dog, you'll know that the main character in the book wants to be Dorothy in the school play but has that dream destroyed when a friend says that Dorothy is not Chinese. Well, that really happened to me! So when I received the e-mail about the audiobook, I jumped at the chance to maybe make my Dorothy dream finally come true!

All I needed was for the section I received to have Dorothy saying something....anything...

And it did!

My line?
"But I don't want to live here," cried Dorothy. "I want to go to Kansas, and live with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry."

Squee! My fifth grade dream fulfilled!

ALA, part 2.5

So after my signing, I was whisked off to a luncheon Little, Brown was giving to the Newbery Comittee & me. This is another thing to file under "something really neat & cool that my publisher did for me," especially because it was at this beautiful restaurant set up with this lovely display:
with coordinating menus!
At the luncheon, the gracious Megan Tingley (publisher of LB) gave a warm speech to introduce my editor Alvina Ling, describing, amongst other things, how Alvina's passion convinced them to publish Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in full color.
Alvina, then gave a moving speech to introduce me--talking about our long and wonderful friendship.
(you can see I'm trying hard not to cry)

Then it was MY turn.
This was quite difficult for me, because I really wanted to express my extreme gratitude (and not be too long). I wrote everything down because I was so nervous. This is what I said:
Even though I’ve gotten used to speaking at schools, things like this make me intensely nervous. They told me it only had to be a few words, but I feel that there are no amount of words that I could say to express my profound gratitude.

First, I want to thank all the great people at LB—Alvina my dear friend & editor, Connie, Victoria, Zoe, Ames, Andrew, Megan--everyone. Also, I want to thank my brand-new husband of 4 months, Alex, for his moral support and also because Victoria warned me that if I didn't an Academy Award Actress-like curse might befall me.

But today, of course, most of my thanks is for you, the Newbery committee for the incredible honor you have given me.

As many of you already know,
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is my personal tribute to my late husband Robert. While the fantasy genre interested me, I only began to write it in earnest when he asked me to, so, while he was going through chemotherapy, I could read it to him and he could imagine himself elsewhere.

At the beginning of Robert’s illness, there were many times I thought we cursed with ill-fortune and I would wonder why our fate was so poor. But as he began to lose his fight for life, I realized how lucky and how truly fortunate I really was. And when Robert’s battle ended, his final gift to me was the soul of the book.

In Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Minli is searching for the secret of happinesss. In the end, she realizes that happiness is not a prize that one wins. Happiness is a gift to be thankful for. I will never believe that I won the Newbery Honor. But I will always be thankful to all of you for gift of it.

I had to work really hard not to tear up while saying it.

But luckily, by then, it was time to eat!
all the food was really amazing--crepes, salmon and THIS cake! Raspberry & white chocolate! YUM

Then I signed some books-- first editions that Victoria had stored in some secret location!
(I don't even have a first edition anymore!)

It was a wonderful and emotional afternoon, but the whole time I felt like a fine lady because of my grandmother's green dress:
(Thanks, Grandma!)

ALA, part 2

I had time getting to sleep the night before the Newbery banquet. I was so excited! I felt like the next day was going to be Christmas and instead of stockings hanging on the mantelpiece, I had all my pretty dresses hanging in the closet. So, when the day came, I was awake really early! So early, that I indulged in ROOM SERVICE!
This is where I have to spout about how great my publisher Little, Brown & Co. is. If you ever publish a Newbery Honor book, publish it with them. One of the many neat things they did (as well as pay for my room service, thanks!) was put me & Squatchie up at snazzy hotel, complete with robes:
I SOOO wanted to steal this robe, but I was a good girl and left it behind.

Now when I was deciding between the two dresses, many people suggested that I wear the one dress for the daytime events and the other dress for the Banquet. That was a good idea, except I had already settled on my daytime event dress.

The dress I had decided on was not only jade green, like my bracelet (in fact, it was the reason why I decided the 1st green dress wouldn't do and decided to keep looking--I didn't want to wear green for both the day & banquet) but it belonged to my grandmother.

I found it while rummaging through my mom's closets and loved it so much that I had it tailored to fit. And I also found an old pin of hers that went beautifully.
this isn't the best photo of the dress, I'll post better ones as I go on...

Thus attired, I made my way to the Convention Center, where I had great fun being a terrible pet,

running into amazing author and friend, Barbara O'Connor,
grabbing some bubble gum,
and posing with an origami yoda!
As I made my way to the Little, Brown booth, I noticed a long line of people waiting for a signing.... and was uber-suprised that it was for ME!

flanked by my agent, Rebecca, who is not only awesome but good at color coordinating with me

Neat! What fun! A good way to begin the day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ALA, part one

So, it was time to go! My trip to ALA and the Newbery Banquet began with a game of iphone pacman on the airplane:

It was about the time that I lost my 5th game that I realized I did forget something! I had remembered the jade bracelet this time, but I had forgotten my blue rose! It was a specially made rose to match my dress and to match the other blue rose girls whom I had gotten banquet tickets for. It was laying on the table at home:
I tried really hard not to be a whiner about it but I kind of had had my heart set on taking a blue rose photo at the banquet just like we had at my wedding.

But as soon as we got in, I met Alvina to go to the Tea for Katherine Patterson (our new Ambassador Children's Literature), who gave a lovely speech even though I didn't hear any of it because I was way in the back...but I knew it was lovely because lots of people who DID hear it cried and clapped.

People like, Susan Kusel, the well-organized as well as kind librarian who got me the extra Banquet tickets:

and one of my favorite bloggers Jama Rattigan (check out her post on the tea to see the good eats)
There were many more, but I forgot to take photos. I think was distracted because an extremely lucky occurrence had just happened. as Alvina and I walked to the tea (very hot!), we passed many stores. As I glanced at one of them, I saw they had red rose hairclips in the window.

"Do you think they have a blue one?" I asked Alvina.
She shrugged, and I thought it was unlikely, but we went in anyway. And they DID! Not as nice as the custom made one, of course, but it was a blue rose! What were the chances? Ta-hah!
I'm making the "I forgot!" Ting face from Ling & Ting

Fate or luck? Who knows? But I am never going to bet against the jade bracelet!

After the tea, I had a quick drink (big glass of water, which I really needed after walking in the DC heat! really not recommended.) with Harold Underdown. If you remember he was my first editor, the one who acquired The Ugly Vegetables, my first book and my first break into the children's book world, and is miraculously still in print! Thank you very much, Harold!!

After that, I met up with good friends for dinner (somehow I don't have a photo of everyone):

at a restaurant called Busboys and Poets, chosen with hopes of grand inspiration for our poet friends Janet Wong & Elaine Magliaro:

which I'm not sure was accomplished. However, we did plan an epic called, "The Velveeta Rabbit, or How Fake Cheese becomes Real."

book talk tuesday

THE DREAM STEALER by Sid Fleischman

IndieBound Description:
There is a bandit who comes in the night. He does not want pretty silver earrings or dangly gold necklaces, not diamonds or rubies.
What does he want?
Listen, I will tell you.
He wants dreams.
He is supposed to take only nightmares—the dreams of monsters and phantoms—but he's grown scared. He's been taking the good dreams instead.
But one night he steals from the wrong girl.
Susana is clever. She is wily. She is brave. And she wants her dream back.

My Thoughts:
It was with great sadness that I read of Sid Fleischman's death last March. I had the good fortune to meet him many years ago, early in my career and in that brief encounter he epitomized to me what a "nice gentleman" was. Funny, sincere and warm--just like this book, one of his last gifts of literature to the world. A lovely little jewel of a book.

Monday, June 28, 2010

on my desk monday

This is an incredibly lovely article written by my editor, Alvina Ling for the May edition of the Horn Book. Editors were asked to write what they learned from the authors they work with, and I was really touched that Alvina chose to write about me. Some of you might know that Alvina & I have been good friends since we were ten years old and the character of Melody Ling in Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat is based on her! So, we have a long history together. My favorite part:

And I love thinking that somewhere out there, two ten-year-old best friends are reading and loving and talking about the book. Maybe someday they’ll grow up to publish books together, too!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

did I forget anything?

All packed to go to the big Newbery Banquet(hope my dress doesn't get too wrinkled.)! This time I packed the jade bracelet, but I think it is already bringing me luck because to see me off was ANOTHER STARRED REVIEW for Ling & Ting!!!

This one is from the School Library Journal:

Lin brings her talents to these charming stories about Chinese-American twins who like to stick together but are not as alike as everyone thinks. The six short chapters are the perfect length for beginning readers. In the first story, the girls get haircuts. Ting “moves her legs and her fingers. Ting can never sit still.” When her snipped hair falls on her nose, she sneezes and the barber cuts a little too much off her bangs. The simple illustrations follow this mishap throughout the book, making the sisters easily identifiable. In the other vignettes, Ling and Ting make very different dumplings, Ling cannot eat with chopsticks no matter how hard Ting tries to teach her, and they visit the library. Each story ends with an amusing punch line that will make readers laugh. The last chapter ties all of the tales together, showing the fun and friendship that the girls share. This relationship, combined with the simple sentence structure, repetitive text, and straightforward illustrations that reinforce new vocabulary words, will put this easy reader in the same category as Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad” books (HarperCollins).

WOW! That means Ling & Ting have received four starred reviews! That is the most stars I have gotten for ANY book!!!

A good omen for the weekend, don't you think?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank you for coming!

The Ling heads were made:

the Ting heads were made:
The boxes had their cupcakes:
And the bags were filled with their magnets and chopsticks:
And only needed decorating:
But I had a hard time getting the help to part with the paper flowers:

However, everything was finished and brought to the bookstore for the LING AND TING BOOK PARTY!!!

Where, after I spoke a little (tried to keep it short):

It was time for the cupcakes!

It was kind of a long line (thanks for your patience!):
Because I had to admire everyone's matching Twin outfits!!

This family deserves a prize for the cupcake theme coordination--they even have a matching Lissy doll:

Though, these girls looked pretty delicious in their dim sum shirts:
And these ladies are lovely in their spring colors, coordinated with Mom and brother:

While these girls even had matching shoes:

But, I admit, I'm a bit partial to those matching with ME!

I hope everyone had a good time at the Ling & Ting Book Party! Thanks so much for coming!