If you are here looking for analysis of the awards, you are too early. I am typing this about 7 hours before the ceremony. Check back later for reactions.
Here are some things I am thinking about, having spent the past few days immersed in books:
Here is the sad truth: I do not see every book that is published in a given year. (When I was on the Boston Globe/Horn Book committee, I felt like I saw every book, but not in a normal year.) One way I learn about new books is to read The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, The Bulletin for Children’s Books, Booklist, and the many book catalogs that arrive in our mailbox. Still, things slip through the cracks.
So, while I am at ALA, I try to look at picture books in the booths. For those of you who have never been to ALA or IRA or NCTE or any of the alphabet soup of organizations that help put books in the hands of librarians and teachers, it’s something to behold! There are booths and booths filled with books and posters and pens and bookmarks. There are also smiling folks milling about, ready to tell you about their books. Most of these people are amazingly nice and seem to enjoy talking to every librarian on the planet. I do not fare well in these encounters, as I just feel awkward. The best of these meetings today was when I got to have one editor show me all he loved about a book coming out in the spring. He was glowing with admiration for the words and illustrations, and I loved watching that enthusiasm.
The worst was when someone flatly asked, “Why didn’t you have any of our books on your ballot?” The fact is, I have no talent for remembering which book comes from which publisher, and I wouldn’t be able to tell you which book came from which publisher. I just don’t care. I can barely remember who the authors and illustrators are–how in the world would I know who the publishers are? I remember pictures and stories. That’s all my small brain can hold.
This year, instead of jotting down titles and losing the pieces of paper, I used my trusty phone to photograph books I found especially intriguing. Last year at Midwinter, I was taken with On a Beam of Light. This year, the one book that impressed me was called The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper. Inexplicably, it is the one cover photo that refuses to download to my computer. So, jot that title down, friends, and take a look in OCTOBER of 2014 for it.
Most of the following books are not published yet, but I leave you with these images. These are some of the books I want to learn more about over the next few months.
More from the announcements tomorrow. Counting the minutes.