“What Happened to Your Book Today” A Poem for after the ALA Awards

In San Diego today, the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced just as I was having my lunch break on the East Coast, so I was able to gobble up every honor and award announcement along with my leftover chicken. I was so happy to see some of my favorite titles from 2010 honored and delighted that some less trumpeted books took away awards, too.

But I know today is also a tough day for some author/illustrator friends who might have been hoping for phone calls that didn’t come. Somehow, I tend to not get as wrapped up in all this as some.  I think it’s because I’ve always celebrated today as a teacher and reader that the author-stress doesn’t kick in as much as it might.  But either way…there are many more books worth celebrating today than just those with the new stickers.

Your book may not have won an award today…but some other pretty amazing things happened.

What Happened to Your Book Today

Somewhere, a child laughed

on that page where you made a joke.

Somewhere, she wiped away a tear,

Just when you thought she might.

 

Somewhere, your book was passed

from one hand to another in a hallway

busy with clanging lockers,

with whispered words,

“You have got to read this.”

And a scribbled note:

O.M.G. SO good.

Give it back when ur done.

 

It’s looking a little more love-worn lately,

rougher around the edges than it did on release day.

There are dog eared pages and Gatorade stains.

Someone smeared maple syrup on the cover

because she read all through breakfast.

Pages 125 and 126 are stuck fast with peanut butter

Because Chapter 10 was even more delicious

than lunch.

 

Somewhere, tiny hands held up your book

And a little voice begged, “Again!”

Somewhere, the answer came,

A grown-up sigh…and a smile…

And the fourteenth read-aloud of the morning.

That same book. Again.

Your book.

 

Somewhere, a kid who has never read a whole book on his own

(Really. Not even one.)

picked up yours and turned a page.

And then another.

And then one more.

And it was pretty cool, turns out.

He brought it back – huge smile on his face –

(and I mean huge)

And asked for another one.

And he read that, too.

 

Somewhere, a teenager who thought she was alone

Opened your pages and discovered she’s not.

And somewhere, somebody who thought about giving up

will keep on trying,

keep on hoping.

Because of that book you wrote.

 

Somewhere tonight – listen closely and you’ll hear–

A child will turn the last page of that book,

That book you wrote,

and sigh.

Can you hear it?

It’s the sound of a story being held close

Right before a young voice says,

“It feels like this was written just for me.”

 

And it was.

Note from Kate: If you love this poem & want to share it on your own blog, website, or Facebook wall, please do not copy and paste the text. Instead, please include a short quote or just the title and then share the rest of the poem by providing a link to my original post here – that way, you can share with your own readers and honor the copyright, too. Here’s the URL:

http://www.katemessner.com/what-happened-to-your-book-today/

Many thanks for practicing good digital citizenship!

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2 Comments

  1. Posted August 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Loved this poem! I’m going to keep a copy (hope you don’t mind) as a reminder next time awards come around here. Awards are nice but you’re right – in writing for kids, these things mean a lot more!

    • Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Sherryl! By all means…re-read as needed!

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