• Jessie Oliveros

ALA Part II

The Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet was such an incredible experience! It was an honor to attend. I sat at a Simon and Schuster table by these two...



Seriously, Dana and Sean made ALA so much fun. I also sat next to Sarvenaz Tash, author of MG and YA books and now--new friend! We traded so many mom stories, and I'm excited to read her books!



I cheered extra loud when Juana Martinez-Neal, fellow Epic 18 debut friend, received her Caldecott Honor for ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME.



I love this book. I had the privilege of reading it in F&G format when Juana and I met for breakfast one morning a few years ago while my family was vacationing in Arizona. THE REMEMBER BALLOONS hadn't even made it to F&G format yet so she read it on my cell phone! Also, I had Eggs Benedict. Which is an important detail.


Sophie Blackall, Meg Medina, and Christopher Myers (on behalf of Walter Dean Myers) delivered beautiful standing-on-your-feet-clapping-because-they-are-so-wonderful addresses. Then I got to shake THEIR hands in the receiving line. I chatted with Meg Medina for ten seconds about the Golden Kite Gala because look!


See her five rows back and to the right?

She was smiling at me at the Golden Kite Gala while I spoke. Then I smiled at her at the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet while she spoke. I'm pretty sure this makes us best friends. Which is okay with me because she is so cool and writes pretty amazing books.


The penultimate moment of the weekend happened the next morning. The very last event. The Schneider luncheon.


I sat at a table with Dana, Sean, Dana's family, Editor Justin, and Alyson Beecher of the Schneider Committee. It was an intimate luncheon--not many of us. It seemed that each winner had a table. Of course, since there were honor books this year, the Schneider Committee members mentioned more than once how big we'd grown!


A picture of the winning books...


YA Schneider winner: ANGER IS A GIFT by Mark Oshiro

YA Schneider honor winner: (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY edited by Kelly Jensen

MG Schneider winner: THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE by Leslie Connor

MG Schneider honor winner: THE COLLECTORS by Jacqueline West

PB Schneider winer: RESCUE AND JESSICA A LIFE-CHANGING FRIENDSHIP by Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, illustrated by Scott Magoon

...and then us for the PB Schneider honor....


If those who are reading this are unfamiliar with the Schneider Family Book Award, it's given for the recognition of disability in children's literature. Katherine Schneider, blind since birth, is the founder of this award, and her amazing generosity has made the award possible. Katherine is now 80, and travel isn't easy for her. While we didn't get to meet her in person, we each had a chance to talk with her on a conference call. THAT was amazing. And if I was going to pick out THE VERY BEST SINGLE MOMENT of my weekend, it was that chat with Katherine. It was so very special, and made even more poignant when listening to all the other Schneider winners speak to Katherine. Each had something so beautiful to contribute.


During the luncheon, we were told we were now part of the Schneider family. Here we are! The newest members of the Schneider family!



At the conclusion of the luncheon, we all signed our books at our tables. And then anyone at the luncheon could take a book! It was like Christmas. All those Schneider books stacked in the above picture? My own books. And yes, they have their own shelf in my home.



Signing with Dana again was really the perfect conclusion to a weekend I keep going back to in my mind. Book people are the BEST kind of people. And weekends with them are almost too good to be true.