I feel like a fancy librarian for attending the Newbery, Caldecott, and now- Children’s Literacy Legacy Award (YAY!!!) for all five ALAs that I have attended. I also felt fancy for wearing a giant sheer bow fascinator that was an instant conversation piece!
But– this awards reception remains a staple for my conference (sorry wallet) because of the pure joy that is expressed there– something all the award winners and ALA/ALSC presenters reminded us over and over. So really, I attend for the glamour and speeches (although you can do this all for free by just sitting in the chairs on the sides after dinner!)
As a librarian, I book talk daily– sometimes it even spills into my personal time with RA to my hair stylist, barista, and anyone who happens to cross my path. And as we all know– you may never know the impact of handing a book to a person– and more so to a child. We also know how important it is for children to be seen in literature. Newberry Award winner, Erin Entrada Kelly’s beautiful and hilarious speech really hit that home for me as she spoke candidly about being a Filipino child in Kansas and being both reminded daily of her difference to her peers through teasing and literature and now has created her own literature for children that remain unseen.
Children’s Literacy Legacy Award winner, Jacqueline Woodson spoke to us about creating art through the darkness and was frank and real with us about the way people are being treated in this country and how it makes us all feel lost, but life goes on and we will too. Her reflective and ever-changing speech harked back to her a poem she goes back to at the tough times in her life. It made so much sense that the beautiful poet would look back to a poem for clarity and guidance. As a side note– I loved that ALSC has appropriately renamed this award so that winners can feel more of a connection to their work in the greater literature legacy of children’s literature, and can be proud of that fact!
Caldecott Award winner, Matthew Cordell lovingly spoke about falling back in love with children’s literature. I liked the phrase that he had to get his head, hands, and heart involved with creating a picture book, and I personally think that also applies to work with children. You have to get all the way in and remember your biases and differences to the population of patrons that you serve.
I know you can hear the speeches online… but it is so much different in the room. The live energy, the excitement, and the support of people who are constantly working to do better and be better make it a staple of my ALA Annual trip!