What fun we had last night at the ALSC Midwinter Mixer! At live conferences, ALSC has been putting together dinners for ALSC members to get together and get to know each other. Of course, that wasn’t possible this year, but the ALSC Membership Committee threw a virtual mixer on Zoom, BYOD – Bring Your Own Dinner.
About 60 people attended the mixer and we heard from three former Youth Media Award committee chairs who talked about their experiences both serving on and chairing committees. Thom Barthelmess, chair of the 2017 Newbery Committee (The Girl Who Drank the Moon); Caitlin Jacobson, chair of the 2017 Sibert Committee (March: Book 3); and Ana-Elba Pavon, chair of the 2016 Pura Belpré Committee (Enchanted Air and Drum Dream Girl) spoke about their commitment, not only to read and evaluate books but to lead meaningful discussions during their terms.
After hearing from the panel about their experiences on their committees, mixer attendees split up into breakout rooms to talk books! In my breakout room, we shared some of our 2020 favorites that we hope to see honored with awards on Monday. We also chatted about our own experiences on award committees and how we’ve been trying to keep up with books published this year. (A helpful resource shared by one attendee is this spreadsheet of starred reviews at Jen J.’s Booksheets, compiled by Jennifer Jazwinski!)
While it wasn’t the same as being together in person and chatting books every second with complete strangers who become friends, it was really nice to be able to get together virtual face to virtual face. And I know we’re all eagerly anticipating watching the Youth Media Awards announcements on Monday!