June 2002

My ‘Newbery year’ continues with lots of lovely things happening!

–A couple of months ago when I was in New York City, I stayed with my dear friend Nancy. She had a dinner party for me-and dessert was this amazing cake!


That’s a replica of the Newbery Medal, all done in frosting. (For some reason the photo came out smeary-looking. It didn’t look like that in real life-it was perfect!)

–For a class book project, fourth-grader Perry Knowlton dressed up as Tree-ear and sent me a photo:

For a class book project, fourth-grader Perry Knowlton dressed up as Tree-ear and sent me a photo

I was floored by his costume-the details are terrific! I could never have done anywhere near as good a job myself. (I know this for a fact. When my son had to dress up to represent the state of Idaho, I used a scarf to tie a potato on top of his head. That was his costume.)

–On the road: In May I was in Albany for Frank Hodge’s wonderful conference, “Let the Reading Begin.” It was the seventeenth and last LRB; I went last year and had a wonderful time, and this year was even better. How could it miss, with guests like Jerry and Eileen Spinelli, Karen Hesse, Bruce Coville, Kate DiCamillo, Mem Fox, Ben Mikaelsen, and many many more! We were treated to a terrific talk by Mem Fox on the importance of reading aloud to children, and a performance of one of Bruce’s books by members of his “Full Cast Audio” staff. (Watch for these audio productions, a wonderful way to hear a book!)

Frank Hodge’s “Newbery Corner.” From left, Kate DiCamillo (N Honor, Because of Winn-Dixie, 2001); me; Karen Hesse (Medal, Out of the Dust, 1999); and Jerry Spinelli (Medal for Maniac Magee, 1990, Honor for Wringer, 1994). Thanks to Gail Denisoff for the photo!

I also presented awards to the young winners of the Susan B. Anthony writing competition here in Rochester; gave a presentation to the Rochester Area School Librarians association; and talked to the Monroe County Children and Young Adult librarians. I LOVE meeting folks who like to talk about books!

–Recent reading: Still not as much time to read as I would like, but I did steal some time for a few books.

NEXT MONTH: A report from the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta, where I will give the Newbery acceptance speech and receive the Medal-yikes! Wish me luck.

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