ALA Chicago – Sunday, July 12, 2009


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7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Neil Gaiman, Winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Neil Gaiman, Winner of the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book

Friends:

What a day! I signed books at the ABC-Clio Libraries Unlimited booth early today. I discovered that I left my camera’s SD card in my laptop at the hotel. Ugh. I took pictures with my phone but had trouble emailing them to myself. So all the pictures I have are from tonight’s Newbery Caldecott banquet.

After signing, I roamed the exhibit floor and ran into Carmen Agra Deedy, who was signing Martina the Beautiful Cockroach at the Children’s Plus booth. She is such a doll. I love her. Who doesn’t?!!!!

Afterwards, I met up with Juliet Bond, Kelly Milner Halls, and Stephanie Reynolds. I had a bite to eat and saw my buddy, MJ Diem for a few brief minutes. Love you, MJ!

Juliet and I wandered the exhibit hall some more when I decided to get some fudge. Lo and behold, I run into my friend, Vickie Beene Beavers, who was standing right behind me in line. The funny thing is we were both laughing so loud at a comment made by a nearby speaker. I turned around to see who was laughing as loud as me and it was Vickie! Her friend, Veronica, was with her and the three of us had some great laughs.

Juliet and I went back to my room and changed for the Newbery Caldecott banquet. What an event! Juliet and I sat at a table with some wonderful librarians. I even met a librarian from the Army Libraries of Europe! The food was great, a prelude to a great evening ahead.

The first awards were to the Caldecott Honor winners – Marla Frazee for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, Uri Shulevitz for How I Learned Geography, and Melissa Sweet for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. Then came the big Caldecott award. It went to Beth Krommes for The House in the Night, a quiet and sweet bedtime book written by Susan Marie Swanson. Beth Krommes is soft-spoken and elegant woman. She was gracious enough to pull out her Caldecott medal and let me and some other authors hold it!! Just spectacular!

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Beth Krommes

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Beth Krommes

Then it was time for the Newbery. First the honors were awarded to Kathi Appelt for The Underneath, Ingrid Law for Savvy, Margarita Engle for The Surrender Tree, and Jacqueline Woodson for After Tupac & D Foster.

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Jacqueline Woodson

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Jacqueline Woodson

Then it was gold medal time… Ok, so I have a crush on Neil Gaiman now. He is so funny and a true wordsmith. His speech was humorous, touching, and inspiring. He said that “children’s fiction is the most important writing of all.” I was so thrilled to be a part of this night because I absolutely loved The Graveyard Book. Meeting Neil Gaiman was the icing on the cake. And yes, his arm was around me!! LOL

Then Ashley Bryan, who is an amazing force on stage, received the Laura Ingalls Wilder award. With audience participation, call and response, and poetry, he enthralled the crowd with his speech. Afterwards, I told him how much I enjoyed his storytelling delivery. He said to me, “I don’t like to let words lie flat on the page. Let them fly!”

7-12-09 Ashley Bryan and Dianne de Las Casas

7-12-09 Ashley Bryan and Dianne de Las Casas

Again, I ran into my friend, Yuyi Morales, the Pura Belpre illustrator winner for her book, Just in Case. Yuyi is the most gorgeous, sweet and sophisticated woman you will meet. We both presented at the San Benito Literary conference last year and I was privileged to spend time with her. What a woman!

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Yuyi Morales - look at Yuyi's dress and shoes! Wow!

7-12-09 Dianne de Las Casas & Yuyi Morales - look at Yuyi's dress and shoes! Wow!

It was a fabulous day – I wish I could have posted more pictures! I am flying out in the afternoon on Monday. ALA was marvelous but I am ready to be home for a little while!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne