- ALA Annual Conference 2022

Newbery Newbery Newbery! (and Newbery)

Happy 100th birthday, Newbery! My ALSC Blog colleagues have done a wonderful job writing about Newbery events for #alaac2022, so read them (here and here and here)! I want to share a few highlights from two wonderful events.

Newbery 100 Celebration!

Part trivia show, part author meet and greet, part birthday party, this event was one of my favorites in the conference.

Historian, critic, and author Leonard Marcus spoke about the history of the Newbery Medal. One of my favorite of his quotes from the evening: “Every book is an expression of its own imperfect time.” His vast array of knowledge is unparalleled, and if you haven’t read The Minders of Make-Believe, I highly recommend it.

Steve Sheinkin and Stacey Rattner hosted an “Author Fan Face-Off.” It was hilarious to watch authors forget specific details about their own books! It makes complete sense though- when you’re working on your next project, how easy it would be to forget those details! (Example, Kwame Alexander forgetting the punch line to a joke in The Crossover: “Y’all know what the mama turkey said to her naughty son?” The answer: “If your papa could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy!”)

Kwame Alexander heading back from his trivia round

There was an enchanting comradery and love of children’s books. Authors are celebrities to us children’s librarians, but they are just people. When I was a kid, several reading experiences felt like books didn’t even have authors- they were magical creations. Meeting the artist now doesn’t break the magical spell, it gives the book experience more fairy dust. (I had a “fangirl” moment meeting Erin Entrada Kelly. In person, she is gracious and humble and funny!)

Erin Entrada Kelly signing my book copy!

2022 Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet

Caldecott winner Jason Chin’s speech focused on the power of guidance, describing his mentor Trina Schart Hyman. It was a humble, moving speech.

Newbery winner Donna Barba Higuera talked about the power of story, and her own history of telling stories. How wonderful is it to have a sci-fi novel win this year!

The Children’s Literature Legacy Award went to Grace Lin, and is so well-deserved. Her speech celebrated the power of story and sharing her experiences with discrimination.

“Networking”: I admit that this term instantly ignites my social anxiety. But I realized at this event that this word doesn’t have to mean walking around and giving out your business card to the most people possible. I spent much of the evening with an illustrator who described her journey to publication, and a librarian from Kansas City. We had an encouraging conversation about the reality of advocacy. It’s hard work to get buy-in for changing outdated policies and working towards progressive librarianship.

It was a pleasure to celebrate the Newbery Medal’s 100th birthday! Thank you to ALSC for your hard work planning these events. The small details (little take-home ornaments with Newbery winning book titles, Hershey’s kisses with stickers on the bottom saying 100 Newbery). A dedicated team took the time to do these things, and it showed!

(Photos courtesy of guest blogger)


Conference guest contributor Katie Clausen (she/her) is the Early Literacy Services Manager at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, IL. Her specialties include discovery-based play, picture book analysis, and storytime best practices. During ALA, she will be munching on Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish, and is thrilled to attend The Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet. If she could read any book again for the first time, it would be The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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