Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Whirlwind in Washington, DC: Part 2

So, as I mentioned earlier, I borrowed two dresses for the APAICS Gala (because just like my newbery dress and my Today Show outfit, I can never quite decide what to wear).  In the end, in the interests of time (wanted to make sure we made it to the gala before the locked-down for security), I wore the black dress as the other one was a bit more complicated to put on. I was a little sad about that as the other dress was really beautiful and I thought it would be unlikely I would ever get to wear it. 

However, fate had other plans for me! Just as I returned from the APAICS Gala, I received a message from Carol Rasco, the president of Reading is Fundamental. She saw on social media that I was in town and wanted to know if I wanted to attend RIF's 50th Anniversary Gala the next night:

Wow! Strangely enough, about a month earlier I had sent an art donation for their silent auction (I always try to donate as RIF is an amazing organization). When I sent it in, I remember thinking, "Gee, it would be fun to go to that Gala! Maybe someday!" Well, I guess that day was... now!

So, I put on that second gala dress and went!

In my fine (borrowed) feathers! 
No, POTUS at this gala, but who needs him when you have the Hungry Caterpillar:

Yukari Matsuyama, the manager of Children's and Young Adult Cataloguing at First Book, a big bug and me!

and Clifford:
they set up formal pictures with him that you could get prints of right there. I like to call this my RIF prom photo.
I admit, I latched onto all the people at First Book because they were all so awesome! They knew I was going to the event solo, so they brought my books so I would see some familiar faces!

The super, super nice people of First Book!
I did see other familiar faces, but mainly in the art for auction:

art from my friend Jarrett Krosocka, the bids for it went pretty high!

Everything about the gala was beautiful--the program, the food, 

and, especially, the people:
President Carol Rasco
As an author, it was quite moving. We make books and just kind of hope that our books reach the kids that need them. But it is really organizations like RIF and First Book that get the books into kids' hands. There were so many touching stories about how RIF has provided (and still provides) the only books in some households. And how their books are the biggest weapon against the "summer slump"; a time when so many kids fall behind academically--sometimes with catastrophic consequences. 

RIF honored ten people with "Legacy of Literacy" Awards, whom Carol called "RIF's heroes."  

Read all about them HERE!
And then there was the live auction--where people pledged at different sponsorship levels. It was really exciting!
can you see the top of my head?
And then lastly, to end the event, there was a "good night" reading of The Wonderful Things You Will Be--read by Lynda Bird Johnson Robb who (if I have the story correct) has been involved with RIF since her teenage years:

such a sweet book
Oh, wait, I forgot to mention the dessert. Can't forget that...definitely worth mentioning:
there was much, much more--including cotton candy--but I forgot to take photos!

All in all, it was an amazing privilege to be in the company of so many people who believe in childhood literacy and know its importance.  It was a beautiful celebration for a truly beautiful organization.

me and Carol Rasco, president of RIF

Thank you so much, Carol, for inviting me! Happy 50th Birthday, RIF!