Thursday, June 30, 2011

ALA 2011 or how I ran out of marbles: Part 2

While other authors such as James Kennedy and Dan Santat partied the night away in New Orleans (Dan stood us up for breakfast, while the story of James' escapades floated over coffee), I returned to my hotel room to try to get a good night's sleep. So really, there was no excuse for me to be tired the next morning.

But I was and to remedy that I had a healthy, sugar filled breakfast of beignets:
They were quite helpful because after eating them I was able to chat quite cheerfully to authors such as Ryan Sias:
my new friend from the SCBWI NJ conference!

and Raina Telgemeier

The sugar gave me so much energy that I was still full pep when it was time to go to Antoine's Restaurant for my luncheon with the Geisel Committee. In fact, when I arrived, I squealed because I recognized the restaurant from Anthony Bourdain's show on New Orleans. I'm not sure why that got me so excited, but it did. I guess it's kind of like seeing a celebrity, except the celebrity was a restaurant. Okay, maybe I had too much sugar.

But it was a really neat restaurant. We had lunch in the "Rex Room:"

Which had lots of glitzy paraphernalia incased on the the walls:

I particularly liked this dress. It is the just like the sparkly dress I imagined I would wear if I was an award winning movie star.

However, even without the sparkly dress, I am quite satisfied being an award winning author especially after meeting the fun committee that gave Ling and Ting the Geisel Honor!

The lovely Geisel Committee!

I said a little thank you to them (which was very short as I felt it would be odd to say a speech that would be longer than my book):

When I received the call last year I was a bit tongue-tied so I am very glad to have this opportunity to show you my gratitude now.

First I want to thank all the great people at Little, Brown--Alvina, Victoria, Andrew, Megan and all the others who are not here. I know Ling and Ting was an unusual book for you to publish. It was the first trade early reader book at Little, Brown and if it wasn't for all your support and efforts Ling and Ting may have never been introduced to the world.

People often ask me, "What is harder to write, the picturebook or the novel?" And I always answer, "The hardest thing to write is the early reader."

The questioner is usually surprised and it takes many words to explain how writing an interesting story with a limited vocabulary for an easily discouraged audience is quite a challenge.

"But it looks so easy!" they protest. And, of course, to that I say, "Exactly!"

But, you, the Geisel Committee, already know this. And not only do you know that these books are not easy, you also know how important they are too. You know that the best of these books can transform an easily discouraged reader into an enthusiastic one, And that is why it is such a huge honor that my book has received acknowledgement from you.

Ling and Ting are twins that are not the same but I think they would both feel exactly the same way as I do when I say to all of you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

After that excitement, my energy level started to crash again. But before it could free fall, dessert came!

And I was good until evening. Which was lucky because I was going to the Newbery Banquet! Unlike my last year's Cinderella night, this time I was just a guest.

But I was still thrilled to go because I got to wear my beloved silver-grey dress!

Me and my agent, Rebecca Sherman, whom I told couldn't wear the same dress to the Newbery banquet two years in the row. I was really joking, but she took me seriously. So I take credit for the smashing dress she is wearing.

Me and Alvina, who edited this year's Caldecott Honor book Dave the Potter.

Librarians Kristin and Sheri (I can't remember their last names!) both of whom were on the Geisel committee. If you look closely at last year's Newbery Banquet post, you'll see I was also seated next to Sheri then. I hope it becomes a banquet tradition!

The banquet was great, both Newbery and Caldecott winners gave such moving and heartfelt speeches that I almost cried. But I was starting to droop by the end of the evening. I really wanted to participate in this year's Red Carpet with awesome hosts Kristin Venuti, Jim Averbeck and Katie Davis (whom I had the morning beignet breakfast with), but even the dessert:

didn't give me pep I needed to find them. Of course, I regret that now. I wanted to show off my dress. Oh well, maybe next year!