We always grumble about it being too early (7:00 a.m. on a Sunday during a long weekend of festivities and after a couple of really late night parties); we always know that once we get there, something magical will happen so all our sleepiness will be swept away: when the entire room sang Lift Every Voice and Sing together, when the morning invocation calls to attention of the importance of this award in our still trying time for African Americans, and when the award winners give their heart-felt, thought-provoking speeches.
This year felt like it was the BEST yet! From Jason Reynold’s tribute to his mother and the power of community, to Kwame Alexander’s rousing spoken words; from Kekla Magoon’s insistence of telling the world the multi-faceted truths behind the single-angled reporting of the media, to Frank Morrison’s belief of encouraging all children to be who they truly are; from Marilyn Nelson’s quiet reminder of the power of words to Christian Robinson’s (and Patricia Hruby Powell) dancing like Josephine Baker! And of course, to the dreaming and frustration and dreaming again by Jacqueline Woodson and Christopher Myers.
Jackie’s and Chris’ speeches in their printed form can be found on the Hornbook site.
That entire breakfast was at once extremely somber and electrifying. These talented African American authors and artists have joined a long line of creative souls who continue to inspire and inform young readers. Bravo!
(Christian Robinson & Patricia Hruby Powell – illustrator/author duo for Josephine even danced for us.)
Another noteworthy honoree of the day is Deb Taylor (my fellow 2002 Newbery member,) of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore for her Distinguished Services over the years! Here’s a picture of her giving her passionate speech —
and her talking to Marilyn Nelson, author of Carver: A Life in Poems, (2002 Newbery Honor book winner):
More pictures and reports of this past weekend at ALA can be found on the SLJ site. And my own photo documentary of the weekend is forthcoming!