Fuse #8

Friday, November 17, 2006

Toga! Toga! Toga!

Right! So. Prompt I am not. But here, at long last, is an encapsulation of both the Anne Carroll Moore Lecture and subsequent Children's Book Council reception that accompanied the 87th annual Children's Book Week.

First up, the ACM Lec-toor. Our guest speaker was the magnificent Patricia McKissack who arrived with her husband. I was manning the guest book, flitting about to attend to the various people coming in. In this manner I was able to meet Albert Marrin who not only wrote the fabulous Oh, Rats this year, he also found time to get me to care about Saving the Buffalo. No mean feet. Charming man, by the way. Wore a hat.

The place, by the way, began to fill up faster than I'd expected. At first we only housed a few librarians who knew how to get in the back door. Once the proper front doors opened at 10 a.m., however, there was a bit of a rush. It looked something like this

Anne Carroll Moore Lecture
... and if you took a quarter turn to the right, like this ...

Anne Carroll Moore Lecture
Publishers were out in force, particularly those of the Random House tribe. Oh sure, I saw Greenwillow and maybe a glimpse of Simon & Schuster, but because Ms. McKissack was their baby, RH members clustered together in large attractive groups.

At this point I was pushed into an elevator with Ms. McKissack, her husband, and Anne Schwartz with instructions to guide the group to the auditorium from the basement. It took me about two floors to realize that A) I don't know how to get to the auditorium from the basement and B) We were in the wrong elevator anyway. So by remaining completely silent (you know I clam up around important people) I managed to indicate to my Materials Specialist through a series of hand gestures that they'd probably have to walk down a flight of stairs anyway. Eep.

Once there the joint, as you can see, was hopping.

Anne Carroll Moore Lecture
Now, the speech Ms. McKissack gave was remarkable. I say this not because I am contractually obligated through NYPL (me love me job!), but because it was true. Certain past speakers who shall remain anonymous have been, shall we say, less than entirely enthralling in lectures past. And Ms. McKissack certainly started off slowly. As I heard someone say later, "I couldn't understand why she was being so flat. I'd heard she was a great speaker". After introducing herself as Patricia McKissack, she explained about her degrees, books, etc. Then suddenly a shift comes over her and this isn't the same woman in front of us at all. Instead it's Pat McKissack, the girl who grew up in the projects of Tennessee and is often kept quiet until she bursts out whenever the mood strikes. Another shift and who we're actually looking at is Mrs. Fredrick McKissack, wife, mother, and grandmother who heartily disapproves of those other two and never EVER lets them near her children. Taken together as a whole, these three people make up the Ms. McKissack we came to hear speak, and it was then that the talk really took off. She told stories and reminisced about past books she'd created. She spoke of how she became a writer in the first place and where it's taken her over the years. She gave shout outs to Ms. Schwartz and her husband. She received a standing ovation after her speech which (and I have this on good authority) hasn't happened at an Anne Carroll Moore lecture in decades. I have no pictures of the speech quite yet, but I suspect that my boss does, so I may add those to this site early next week.

As I was leaving I was approached by none other than William Loizeaux (author of Wings) who is just the nicest guy in the whole entire world. The fellow had commuted in from New Jersey for the event and he had very nice things to say. Just a truly pleasant fellow. I highly recommend that you all meet him someday.

Back upstairs I did a once over of the guest book and found that Angus Killick had somehow snuck in and out without anyone actually spotting him. Either that or somebody is signing his name to random guest books around the city. Angus, you have been warned. Best to nip this thing in the bud before it goes too far. Not in attendance, sadly, was Suzy Becker who had stopped by earlier in the month to give the Donnell librarians some delicious cow patties.

Cow Patties
Not only do they tie into her book Manny's Cows (so so good) but in lieu of cupcakes they'll do in a pinch. Thanks again, Suzy!

Meghan McCarthy also showed up with her agent at her side and I was able to proudly show her that our Aliens Are Coming art was in a spot of honor in my boss's office (easily viewed through the window). I'll take some pics of the art next week as well so that you guys can drool appropriately on your keyboards. In the meantime, here's our 100 Books For Reading and Sharing display window presented by a camera-hogging children's librarian.

Donnell Library Window Display
You don't want to know how long that took to put up. The image of Polo should be entirely credited to my co-worker, by the way. Talented feller.

Okay, so that was that. Then there was the fabulous Children's Book Council launch party. Again, Galleycat already posted about this, but at least this time I was able to spot the sneaky little fellow blogger. Ha HA! Here are some of the luminaries that were present:

I spotted the tall bald man on the far left myself and was even able to say, "That's Richard Peck!" to a co-worker with relative grace (i.e. not spilling my drink). I did not, of course, approach the great man. Didn't really have a conversation "in" you see. What, after all, does one say to Richard Peck? "My, but you're tall!", was the first thing to pop into MY head. Thank God for shyness. According to Galleycat that's Ted Lewin and Betsy Lewin there with author Sally Lloyd-Jones. I can also attest to the presence of Richard Egielski (again.. very tall) and Edith Baer.

There was wine and beer in abundance but only small snacks on the center table. I grabbed roughly ten handfuls of M&Ms and then kept meeting really cool editors. At one point there was some talk about how I should become the Louella Parson of kidlit blogging and put all the interesting people I meet in bold on my blog. And were I endowed with a brain that can retain names for longer than five seconds I might seriously consider that. Maybe.

Now remember a little while ago when I told you about the CBC Trivia Challenge where publishers compete for Golden Bunnies? It had this guy involved:

Well, apparently it went well this year (my quiz question of what book beat Charlotte's Web for a Newbery was used*) with only one snag. Apparently the bunny trophies arrived in the mail a bit, uh, battered. A smidgen worse for the wear, if you will. They ordered more, but found they had a big box of excess sparkly buns. So what do you do with such a gift from the heavens?

Bunny Bling
You create bunny bling. Apparently the Greenwillow team went walking down the street wearing these things. Very West Side Story.

So that's that. No more parties for a while (as I'll have to miss the Scholastic Spring season showing). I think this'll tide me over nicely in the meantime, though.

*The Secret of the Andes


At 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and once again, I am convinced you have the coolest children's librarian job in the world. When are you planning to retire?

At 7:40 PM , Blogger MotherReader said...

I am, once again, sooooo jealous. You're one lucky duck.

At 10:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please attend more parties all the time.

Signed: Vicarious

At 12:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can confirm my presence at the Anne Carroll Moore Lecture and what a brilliant speech it was too. I go to a lot of conventions and sit through a lot of speeches and this was up there with the best. Ms. McKissack is so clearly a masterful storyteller and had us all in the palm of her hand . . . willingly ready to cry or laugh on command and you only get to that point if your audience completely trusts you and wants to travel with you wherever you take them.

Sorry I didn't get to say hello to you fuse, but I arrived off the elevator and only had time to sign the book before I was ushered down the stairs to the lecture theater. . . I see NYPL runs a very efficient ship.

At 12:24 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

And don't I know it. Sorry I missed you all the same. Glad to know there isn't an evil Angus Killick doppleganger running rampant in the streets.

When do I retire? Gosh. Well, I'm 28 right now so if I calculate how much a librarian makes alongside how much money I get from this blog....

How's 2056 sound?

At 11:08 AM , Blogger Ron Hogan said...

Funny, I had been mentioning this very blog to a couple people at that party who, when they found out I don't specialize in books for younger readers, wanted to know a blog that did. Wish I'd known you were in the house!


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