100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Instagramming ALA Annual 2018: Sunday and Monday

Friday and Saturday? A warm up! Sunday was the day.

I was up early. I took this NOLA morning street shot . . .

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. . . on my way to the Coretta Scott King Breakfast. Wow was it a great event. All the winners spoke and it’s one of those times when you are reminded how lucky you are to be involved in children’s literature. A highlight of the conference to be sure.

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From there it was back to the convention center for another one of the things I was most looking forward to . . .

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. . . a live episode of The Yarn featuring four 2018 Pura Belpré winners: Ruth Behar, Pablo Cartaya, and Celia C. Pérez, and Juana Martinez-Neal. It was a fun conversation, that we will be putting out as an episode in the next couple months.

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Then . . . what the heck?

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I had the chance to sign copies of The Very Last Castle. I had some visitors:

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Jonathan Auxier and Matthew Cordell swung by, which was kind of them. Cordell even went one step further:

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They say that being kissed on the cheek by a Caldecott Medal winner results in 5 years of good luck, so I’m hoping that’s true.

Okay! Signing done, over to record two last interviews for The Yarn at The Yarn HQ. First up, Cynthia Leitich Smith, who was such fun to talk with.

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And the last interview of the conference was with Derrick Barnes, author of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which, as we know, won all the awards.

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Then it was fancy time. I rode over to the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet with John Schumacher.

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By now I don’t have to tell you much about how The Laura Ingalls Wilder award was changed to the Children’s Literature Legacy award during the conference. You’ve probably heard. What I will tell you is that I’m very glad the change was made and that you can read all about it over at American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Another thing I will say is that ALSC was on top of the signage:

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Once I got to the table, the first order of business was to check out the banquet program, which is always illustrated by the Caldecott Medal winner. Matthew Cordell went with a snow theme on the outside cover . . .

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. . . with a series of little fold-out booklets inside, each sporting a different award. Very nice.

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First up, they announce all the Caldecott honors. Then Matthew Cordell took to the podium to speechify. He speechifying was good. He talked about his relatively late entrance into the picture book world (at the urging of his wife, writer Julie Halpern, who wrote the first book Cordell illustrated). He talked about his secret Caldecott hopes (and eventual letdown) for his book Hello! Hello!, and of how that disappointment led to Wolf in the Snow. Much good speechifying. Tears were shed. You can read the whole thing here.

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Next, Newbery winners and a speech by Erin Entrada Kelly, who had a special cheering section:

Erin talked about her dream coming true. She shared writing from when she was a kid (note to future Newbery winners who have to write speeches – this is always a winner) along with the story of her family. It was great. Click here to read it.

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And talk about a closer. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jackie Woodson finished the night by accepting the Legacy Award. She joked about going off script due to the ever-changing reality of current events. She spoke about the concept of safety for all children (and all people) in 2018. The Ambassador is the Ambassador for a reason.

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By Monday it was time for me to head home. New Orleans had had enough of me.

It’s always a melancholy trip post conference, but look who I ran into at the airport:

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Laurel Snyder and her Geisel Medal for Charlie & Mouse. That lifted my post-conference blues.

Also blues-lifting? This kid art on display in the Atlanta Airport:

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Before I go, a few last things I always find useful. During the conference the announced the . . .

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AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2018

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AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning 2018

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ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2018

See you next year ALA Annual.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

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