ALA Annual 2022

July/August cover by Jason Chin and May/June cover by Grace Lin. Copies available for purchase; see below. 

Martha V. Parravano, Book Review Editor:

I was in DC for a scant 30 hours, but they were packed ones. My primary purpose in going to ALA was to reestablish contact with colleagues and publishers I hadn't seen in over two years and see all the new books, in glorious, physical form. (We currently do almost all of our book evaluation and reviewing electronically.) It was beyond wonderful to walk the aisles and see so much activity and human interaction; so many people looking at books, engaging with one another, waiting in line for autographed copies of books by beloved authors. And as previously noted: so many BOOKS! The energy and excitement on the exhibit floor was palpable.

I also was privileged to attend some unforgettable events and presentations. First was a magical conversation on a rooftop at sunset between Clint Smith (writer for The Atlantic and author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America) and Kwame Alexander about the latter's forthcoming historical novel The Door of No Return, published by Little, Brown, set in 1860 in Asante Kingdom (present-day Ghana). Both the questions and the answers were deep and thoughtful (and Kwame's story about growing up celebrating Kwanzaa while all his friends enjoyed the more commercial experience of Christmas should be shared more widely!). A presentation by author Elizabeth Partridge and illustrator Lauren Tamaki about their unusually close collaboration on Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams's Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration, published by Chronicle Books, was fascinating and revelatory (as is the book itself). 

The final event I was able to attend, the CSK Book Awards Committee Legacy Celebration, honored eleven "deceased colleagues, winners and advocates," all of whom passed in 2021: Toni Morrison, the Honorable John Lewis, Dr. Henrietta M. Smith, Arnold Adoff, Bernette Ford, Sandra Michelle Payne, Floyd Cooper, Eloise Greenfield, Lev Timothy Mills, Jerry Pinkney, and Ashley Bryan. The moving ceremony managed to be solemn and celebratory at the same time. There was a great deal of smiling through tears, as for instance when the assembled viewed an image of Ashley Bryan, arms spread wide, joyfully exhorting an audience to join him in reciting a poem.

Then I headed back to Boston -- recharged, reinvigorated, re-inspired to do the work -- and with a suitcase full of new ARCs to read. 


Elissa Gershowitz, Acting Editor in Chief:

In the lead-up to ALA I'd been feeling shad and nersick -- and this was before the Supreme Court handed down its series of punishing rulings a scant mile-point-five from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Turns out I wasn't alone, as people's "mixed emotions" came up in many conversations, discussions, panels, and speeches; Bittersweet being the first word of Dayton Cooper's Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award acceptance on behalf of his father, the late Floyd Cooper.

There was much to celebrate, though, including the Newbery centennial, with a great bash put on by ALSC’s John Newbery 100th Anniversary Celebration Task Force and featuring a dozen or so Newbery winners (plus Author-Fan Face-Off...librarians' edition!). The Pura Belpré Awards Celebración included heartfelt speeches (including by Newbery and Belpré winner Donna Barba Higuera), its customary traditional dance performance by children, and singing of "Los colores."

On the exhibit floor, I was able to hand out Boston Globe-Horn Book Award stickers to the 2022 winners and honorees and to congratulate the winning publishers. Though we'd spoken on the phone and emailed, it was wonderful to be face-to-face for the first time since Midwinter 2020

The Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet was splendid, both on its own as a glam-filled and joyous event and as a much-deserved nod to the previous two years' creators who weren't able to be fêted in person. I sat at one of the two REFORMA tables, the best seat in the house in a historic year of the first Newbery and Belpré double win. The speeches by Donna Barba Higuera and Jason Chin were emotional and inspirational (and stayed fairly close to what the Horn Book had already printed) and Grace Lin lit up the room -- and instructed us all, step-by-step, how to draw a firefly


Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief Emeritus

What fun, to be at ALA and not to be the one who has to worry over the secret stash of embargoed copies of the July/August Horn Book. (Elissa tells me they were kept safe and sound until it was time to give them out after the speeches contained therein were delivered.) So I was carefree as I sauntered about the exhibit hall with My Pal Al® in search of likely targets for our advertorial programs, Publishers Previews and Talks with Roger.

It was great to be allowed to spend in-person time with Al, who has become a true friend over our decade-plus of work together and whom I hadn’t seen, save on Zoom, since January of 2020. And a better escort I could not have had with which to sashay out among many old friends. I won’t Romper-Stomper-BOOYAH you with a list of shout-outs, but some highlights for me were:

Having breakfast with Patty Rosati, Alessandra Balzer, Christina Carpino, and Justina Ireland was a treat. Justina won the 2022 Scott O’Dell Award for Ophie’s Ghosts, and while the O’Dell family sent Justina her award via mail, the award committee, in the form of me, was glad to be able to congratulate the winner in person. (I think I might have convinced her to write something for the Horn Book, too.)

Also wonderful to see Chris Taylor-BurtonButler, whom I accidentally stood up several years ago when she was in town for one of her MIT things. Go read her great recent article here. And Amy Kellman, see her article here. And Elizabeth! In all, it was completely worth putting on real shoes.

Single copies of the May/June and July/August special issues are available for $15.00 including postage and may be ordered from:

Kristy South
Administrative Coordinator, The Horn Book
Phone 888-282-5852 | Fax 614-733-7269

Find links to the 2022 Newbery, Caldecott, and Children's Literature Legacy Awards speeches, profiles, and more from the July/August Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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