So Far Away

I am posting this from my sister’s home in Southern California where it has been raining so hard I fear we will be building an ark shortly in order to sail back to Massachusetts.  There is much to report since my last post.

I spent my weekend at the American Library Association‘s Midwinter Conference in Boston. My “job” was to walk around the Exhibit Hall and find the publisher’s who had Sydney Taylor Award Winners, Honor Books and Notable books and bring them congratulations and mazel tovs on behalf of the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Sydney Taylor Award Committee and also provide them with gold and silver seals for the winning books.  It was very exciting to meet the publishers and some of the editors responsible for these excellent books. Even more exciting, I got to tell them a bit about forwordsbooks and what I do.  Call me crazy, but I love publishers and exhibit halls. I have a stack of books at home that I am so looking forward to telling you about.

On Saturday evening, I joined up with the ALATweetup and met a number of interesting people from the kidlitosphere, kidlit publishing and children’s magazines.  I will admit, I went out of my way to say hello to Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, who I consider a STAR of the kidlitosphere.  We all have a right to our idols. Well, she is one of mine.  As always, Ms. Burns was gracious. I felt my Tweetup was well spent.

Immediately following,  I headed over the bridge to the Boston World Trade Center to listen to Brian Stokes Mitchell talk about the new book he worked on with Harriet Ziefert called Lights on Broadway from Blue Apple Press.  He sang two songs and let me tell you, this man has a gift from God.  When you hear someone refer to their voice as their instrument – this is what they are talking about.  I would have sat in that chair in that hotel conference room all night and listened to that man sing whatever he wanted. There was no theater orchestra, professional sound system, Broadway stage lighting, nothing.  Just “Stokes” (as everyone was calling him), a cordless microphone and a piano player.  Thank you very much…I was in heaven.

What could be better than that? Listening to him describe sitting in his public library as a kid, checking out every Broadway musical in the collection and sitting in a special room they had listening to the music. Hearing him describe librarians as his heroes. Watching him clap and bow to the librarians in the room.  All followed by his taking the time to have his picture taken, shaking hands, hugging and providing autographs for anyone who asked. We have a word for this – Mensch.

I was not able to attend the Awards Ceremony on Monday morning, but I did view the recording of the event.  How very exciting.  I was happy to see that on of our Sydney Taylor Honor Books, A Faraway Island by Annika Thor was awarded the Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English.  I was also excited that Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion & the Mouse won the Caldecott Award having seen him discuss the book at the School Library Journal Day of Dialogue last May.  As for all the rest of the award winners, let’s just say I have a lot of reading to do!

And now I am in Southern California, as I said, battling a rainstorm of “Biblical” proportions.  I am way behind in my Comment Challenge activities, but hope to catch up in the next couple of days.  I will keep you posted. Until then,

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

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3 Responses to “So Far Away”

  1. Liz B says:

    Waves hi! It was so nice to meet you & put a face to a blog.

  2. Rivster says:

    That sounds like my idea of heaven…

    And yes, that rain was something else!

  3. Marianna says:

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting my site and for your nice comment on my pictures. I was actually a little surprised at how interesting they were myself!

    You have a wonderful site. I’ll be spending an hour or so looking through your reviews to develop a list of books to read!


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