Hooray to Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me) for going gold and to Phillip Hoose (Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice); Jacqueline Kelly (Evolution of Calpurnia Tate), Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) and Rodman Philbrick (The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg) for capturing silver (my personal favorite of the awards as there is no public speaking involved!)
To be perfectly honest, since 2008, announcement day is bittersweet for me. I am thrilled that some other writer gets the fairy dust sprinkled on her or him, and I feel an immediate kinship. I am reminded of the many blessings my own Newbery Honor has brought, the sweetest of which is dear friendships with Jenni Holm, Cindy Lord and Susan Patron. And I will gladly share with the new honorees the wisdom bestowed upon me by Karen Cushman: “Practice saying no.” Had I actually followed her advice, I’d be farther along in my long-overdue novel, but I’d have far fewer friends around the country. Unasked for, I know, but my advice to these Newberians is get busy on that next book! Also, wear really, really comfortable shoes to the banquet.
If I were to own up to all of the feelings surrounding this day, I’d have to add sadness. Each year’s announcement makes me feel a bit like the dying monarch hearing the heralds proclaim, “The (old) King is dead; long live the (new) King!” Ah, well.
Long live: Rebecca, Phillip, Jacqueline, Grace and Rodman! Their lives will change dramatically after this morning’s phone call — I hope they enjoy every moment of the exhilarating ride!