Monday, November 21, 2016



So, here I am back on internet. My grief over the election was genuine (and I am still trying to keep away from Facebook and twitter), but the National Book Awards were happening so I had to put on my game face.

As you may know, before the election I was so, so, so thrilled that my book was finalist. I picked out my silver dress, went shopping for sparkly shoes...but then the election happened and I felt as if there was very little to celebrate.

But, slowly, as I began to attend and present at all the NBA events, I felt my mood begin to lighten. Just seeing and being with my fellow finalists was uplifting. Because, together, we are all so beautiful, don't you think?

Nate Powell, Brendan Kiely, me, Kate DiCamillo, Jason Reynold and Nicola Yoon after the Teen Press conference
Congressman John Lewis, Nicola Yoon, Kate Dicamillo, and Jason Reynolds at the  reading

And, of course, I couldn't help but be so incredibly awed that one of my fellow finalists was the living civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis.

Congressman John Lewis, me, Rebecca Sherman (my awesome agent), and Alvina Ling (editor and Melody from "Year of the Dog")  at the medal ceremony

When he spoke about his book, March, the graphic novel memoir (one of three) of the civil rights struggles and the movement he helped lead, I felt the gloom lift even more--things have been much worse in the past and maybe, just, maybe, with books like his we can make sure we don't return there.

So I put on my sparkly dress and went to the awards ceremony and smiled with more joy than I expected.

on the red carpet at the National Book Awards

me in the silver dress with sparkly shoes!

With the leading ladies behind my books (and career!)

And, truly, my smile was  honest when Congressman John Lewis won. I love my book and am proud of it, but it just felt right that the award was given to him.

I am extremely grateful to the National book Awards for the entire experience. Beyond the finalist glory and the red carpet glamour, it gave me three things to always remember:

1.  "Joy is an act of resistance."-Poet Toi Derricotte

2. "Be Kind." -Coulson Whitehead

3. This:


This is a photo of this year's finalists for the National Book Award in Young People's Literature.  When I see all our books together, just like the photo of all the authors together, I am struck by how absolutely beautiful they are. These are the books the young people of our nation will be reading and, when I think about that, I know there is reason to hope.