I first met Bill Morris more than 15 years ago at one of his famous conference cocktail parties. Dick Abrahamson wrangled an invitation for me with the warning that I’d better be there because Bill never forgot a face or a name—and he mentally noted everyone who walked through the door. I thought, “Okay, that’s not too difficult” –but when I arrived at the party I was overwhelmed by the immensity of the crowd. And it only increased over the next hours.
Dick was absolutely correct about Bill’s memory. From our first meeting forward, he always greeted me by name, knew what I was involved in, and seemed genuinely interested in my work. He always had a twinkle in his eye, reminding me of my favorite kindergarten, first- and second-graders—just on the verge of creating a wild rumpus that would end in tumultuous laughter.
My experience at the first Bill Morris Seminar was bittersweet; the memories flooded back and I missed his presence as I had at every convention since his death. However, the instructional guidance from numerous ALSC “superstars,” heated book discussions, professional and personal chitchat during breaks, all would have appealed to Bill’s idea of a successful meeting. We shared ideas and gained invaluable insights into what makes a most distinguished book for children.
I believe that attending the Bill Morris Seminar thoroughly prepared me for my experience as a member of the 2009 (Robert F.) Sibert Informational Book Committee. And participating in the Morris Seminar—besides remembering and honoring Bill—was one of the most exciting experiences I have encountered in my 15 years as a member of ALA and ALSC. I met wonderful people and learned a tremendous amount about book evaluation.
Thanks Bill and ALSC.
Linda M. Pavonetti