The doors opened at 7:30 and in we walked. In we walked to a fairly small, fairly normal looking room with chairs, a screen, and a dais. Oh, but this was not your mother's Oldsmobile or an average conference ballroom, for on that screen was projected a slide, on which were emblems for all the American Library Association Youth Media Awards.
I was finally here, neither rain nor snow nor cold nor flu (nor budgets nor timing) had kept me away. The Awards presentation was everything I thought it would be. It was the most amazing celebration of children's literature I have ever experienced. My voice was hoarse from whooping and my hands were mottled and tender from clapping so hard and so often. I am so proud of and impressed by the hard work, dedication, and decisions of all the awards committees. I can't describe the rush of seeing the books revealed on the screen.
It was everything I wanted it to be. Well, almost everything I wanted it to be. I had a book that I really wanted to see receive an award. For each title I whooped and cheered, still waiting for the jacket reveal that never happened. Couldn't there just be one more book amongst the winners?
I felt heartbroken. Heartbroken? I had fallen in love with the book. It wasn't just that I liked the book or loved the book, but that the book had secured some special place in my heart. I pushed thoughts into my head. I vowed that next year I would keep a more open mind, from somewhere in the deep recesses of that mind came this song:
AND THEN, a not-very-surprising thing happened. I reminded myself that I am a reader and this is what readers do, we open our hearts to books. We connect to their characters. We adopt their settings. We get lost in the plot. The art envelops us. I would much rather feel the sadness of not seeing a book I love get an award than to feel nothing at all. I am a reader. I will continue to make room in my heart for more books. This is the gift of reading. Here's the thing. I am really HAPPY about the books that did get awards. I cannot wait to share the results and of the awards with my students. There will be some serious whooping and clapping in my library.
Here's to #booklove.
Here's to #booklove.