>Brooklyn and Harlem, too. But I began my New York Time (an obscure but funny adult novel by Richard Peck, btw) with a view, from Elizabeth’s living room, of the East River and ended it in Viking publisher Regina Hayes’ office, which overlooks the Hudson. And had a grand time in between, too.
The memorial service for Janet McDonald was held at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, up on Lenox Ave. in Harlem. It was great to meet so many of the people, family and friends, Janet had described in her emails. It was great to “see” Janet as well: we had never met and never spoke, so a couple of videos filled out the picture for me. (You can see her infamous Condi Rice “tribute” here.) Friends from Vassar and Paris spoke, as did Janet’s editor Frances Foster, making everybody cry. Afterward we repaired around the corner to what I was told was Janet’s favorite NY restaurant, Miss Maude’s Spoonbread Too. Yummy. Afterward, Janet’s agent Charlotte Sheedy skillfully strong-armed me a cab.
Virgin to all boroughs save Manhattan, I took my first trip to Brooklyn the next morning to meet Bruce Brooks. I totally should have rearranged my schedule to meet Jon Scieszka there, as he lives just two blocks away from Bruce. But Bruce and I had a fine time without him, reminiscing over the past twenty years of our friendship and wandering around Prospect Park in vain hopes of finding Bruce’s baby son Drake, who had gone there with the sitter. We caught up with Drake (as well as Bruce’s grown son Alex) back at the apartment, though, where, in an incident that would provide great fodder for my later discussion about boys and reading with Jon, one-year-old Drake became fascinated with my watch. I thought he was enjoying the sparkly blue and chrome-ness of the thing, but no, he kept twisting my hand so that he could inspect the workings of the clasp, less interested in how the thing looked than how it was put together. Score one for gendered behavior!
Then, carefully ushered via excellent directions from Atheneum editor Jordan Brown (a colleague of Bruce’s wife Ginee Seo), I subwayed myself over to Penguin’s offices to meet Jon, who, for the record, totally got the Big Monkey-Little Monkey thing. We spent a lively hour or so talking about boys and books and reading, and Jon showed me the first page proofs of his upcoming Truck Town empire over at Simon and Schuster. (Let me hasten to add, o Penguin potentates, that we also talked about Jon and Lane Smith’s forthcoming Viking title Cowboy and Octopus.) Look for the interview in the September Horn Book special issue, Boys and Girls.
Thanks, boys, for a great trip, and girls, too: along with my best pal Elizabeth (with whom I didn’t get nearly enough talk, but thanks for the hospitality!) I got some time (and choice gossip) from Regina and Sharyn November and Lara Phan at Penguin. I guess we get to do it all over again at ALA in–yikes!–two weeks.