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
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.
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,
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.
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Many thanks for practicing good digital citizenship!