Fuse #8

Monday, May 14, 2007

Michael Buckley and the Ezra Jack Keats Awards (not necessarily in that order)

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards. Heard of them? Here's a description:
The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award was established in 1985 to recognize and encourage authors and illustrators new to the field of children's books. Many previous winners of the award have gone on to distinguished careers creating books beloved by parents, children, librarians and teachers across the country.
All clear? Good. I mean, until I started working for the New York Public Library system I hadn't really heard of them either. Then everyone involved ended up in my Story Hour Room. Yes, this past Thursday we at the Donnell Central Children's Room found ourselves hosting the award ceremony for the 2007 Ezra Jack Keats Award winners. I was given a job: Buzz around everyone and snap photos for posterity. Okey-doke. Trouble is, there's a reason I never went into photography as a profession. I was a Fine Arts double major in both English and Photography in college. That was before I realized that when it comes to composing shots, I'm lamentable. Basically it all boils down to the fact that I'm too self-conscious to snap photographs of folks I don't know. It gives me a jim jams. It's why I can't act or be hypnotised either. Can't explain it. Anywho, after taking surreptitious snaps of people I already vaguely knew (I think I probably took 45 pictures in varying angles of super nice guy Angus Killick) I gave up the whole enterprise and started chatting things up with people like Heather Scott. And Heather would have won the Hot Shoes of Children's Literature Award for this particular kidlit gathering, had I only thought to take a snapshot of her feet with my own camera and not the library's. Lackaday.

The winners of the award, I should probably mention, were as follows:
Brooklyn based Kristen Balouch will receive the New Illustrator Award for her book, Mystery Bottle (Hyperion, 2006), a heartwarming story about a young boy and his grandfather separated by the distance of their countries and united by a mysterious bottle.

The 2007 New Writer Award will go to first-time children’s book writer Kelly Cunnane for For You Are A Kenyan Child (Atheneum, 2006), illustrated by previous Keats Book Award winner Ana Juan, which recounts a day in the life of a young boy growing up a small Kenyan village. Kelly Cunnane lived in Africa for many years but now resides in Beals, Maine.
Ms. Cunnane left a lovely note for Pooh in the guestbook.

But who should be in attendance other than special guest star Michael Buckley! Yes! Author of the Sisters Grimm books (we have the art currently on display, by the way) and all around nice fella. We chatted about possible movie deals, which I will keep mute about. Authors get all touchy when you start yammering on about who's buying what when the actual "buying" part hasn't actually taken place. We discussed the total number of books he might write (could be 6, could be 9). I complimented him on having books that resemble the Lemony Snicket stories but that hold up so much better after multiple readings (well done, Abrams). He's a swell fella. He's also going to talk with some of our local schoolkids at some point here, so that should be fun. I may just have to do his book with my homeschooler bookgroup soon. And say, did you ever notice that the Sisters Grimm books have their own theme song? Howzabout that?

Anywho, lovely evening. Good stuff. Now if I can just finagle some pics out of the Office of Children's Services . . . .

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