At lunch today Allyn Johnston of Beach Lane Books talked about how she and her team create the vibe of their very special imprint. She described it as “giving readers an experience you care about; finding the beating heart to your picture book…an emotional center….giving the reader a chance to have an emotional experience …and it has to be fun.”
That pretty much describes the experience at the Newbery Caldecott Wilder Banquet. Sophie Blackall reminded us that everything is connected. She described how getting her green card and moving from Australia and getting an old christening mug engraved with the name Trevor seem separate but actually form a chain that carried her to Finding Winnie.
Jerry Pinkney reminded us that there were times in his life when he was told, “No. That is not for you.” But it turns out those voices were not telling truth.
Matt de la Pena told us he had not believed he had a place at the table of books and literacy. Even as he spreads the word among thousands of students with his powerful voice telling them they are special, his own heart was waiting to hear just how very special and important he and his voice are to us.
This night of celebrating the best in children’s literature gave us a chance to find our own emotional centers, to feel the place where our hearts beat, to have an emotional experience, to have fun and to honor who we are as one big connected community coming together to celebrate the wonder of story and the amazing people who create them.