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Linda Sue Park

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July 2002 – Newbery Award!

Newbery Award Banquet!

Linda Sue Park, Newbery Award

For this month, there’s just one update, but it’s a big one: a report on the American Library Association Annual Conference held in Atlanta in June. Hope you enjoy it!

2002 American Library Association
Annual Conference
Atlanta, Georgia

Friday, June 14

At the airport: Vivian Vande Velde, me, Marsha Hayles, Mary Jane Auch, and Roxane Chadwick.

The trip through Wonderland began right at the Rochester airport, because authors Mary Jane Auch, Roxane Chadwick, Marsha Hayles, and Vivian Vande Velde were on the same plane as me. We didn’t get to sit together, but it was still great to chat with them at both ends of the flight. In Atlanta, my first ‘event’ was lunch (spinach and goat cheese grits) at the Ritz with my genius editor Dinah Stevenson. As many of you know, Dinah edited both A Single Shard and David Wiesner’s Caldecott Medal book, The Three Pigs. She is only the sixth editor in the history of the awards to have edited both Medal books in the same year — so more than anyone else, it was her weekend to shine!

Later that afternoon, a group of online friends threw a corker of a party at the Georgian Terrace, hosted by Susan Taylor Brown, Ann Mannheimer, and Patricia McMahon in their huge and incredibly elegant suite.

Two of the hostesses–Patricia and Ann…
At the Pod party, from left: Susan Taylor Brown, Elaine Marie Alphin, and me.

More partiers: Toni Buzzeo, Jennifer Jacobson, Franny Billingsley.

As if wine, food, and friends weren’t enough, the group then presented me with the most amazing gift. I opened a beautifully wrapped box to find another box inside (don’t you just love that) — a wooden one, with a silver plate on top inscribed with the words, “Like Jade Like Water,” which is based on a line from A Single Shard. Inside the box there was a little silk pouch (don’t you just LOVE that!??) containing a pendant on a silver chain.

And wonder of wonders, the pendant is a single shard.

A shard of Korean Celadon, no less. The pendant had been brought from Korea by Patricia years ago, on her return after living in Seoul. She told me that it was waiting for me all that time-but I am still in awe of her parting with it. I wish the photos could do it justice, but you simply cannot get an idea of how beautiful it is unless you see it in real life.

From the party to dinner with The Posse, as they came to call themselves, a la P. Diddy’s entourage — my critique partner Marsha Hayles, and two friends I’ve known for years, Nancy Quade and Kathleen Cotter. Kathleen is a librarian in Great Neck, NY, and Nancy used to be one, but she isn’t anymore — she came to ALA just to be with me. We ate at a restaurant called Mumbo Jumbo, which I booked because of the name — it sounded very Wonderlandish. (It was good, too. I had grits again. I like grits.)

Afterwards, a dessert affair for Listening Library at the Four Seasons hotel, where Tim Ditlow and Cheryl Herman took good care of me. I got to meet one of my heroes, Virginia Euwer Wolff!

With Tim Ditlow, Publisher of Listening Library. LL did the wonderful audiobook of A Single Shard.
With guest of honor Scott Turow, and star YA author Virginia Euwer Wolff.

After the party, Nancy and Kathleen forced me to have a drink with them in the Four Seasons bar (What’s that—it was my idea?? Are you sure? I don’t rightly recall. . .), so the day ended on a very merry note.

I was somewhat less merry the next morning. . .

Saturday, June 15

The wake-up call jangled the inner core of my brain at 6 a.m.: Clarion’s kick-off breakfast would begin in an hour. I had, um, a little headache. I’d planned to wear my chima-chogori (traditional Korean dress and jacket) to the breakfast, but that plan almost came undone. I was sharing my room with Marsha for the one night, until my family arrived later that day, and I didn’t want to disturb her by turning on all the lights. So I struggled into the garments, which do not button or zip or snap; instead there is a complicated system of narrow slippery ribbons to be crossed and wrapped and tied. This is not easy to do when you hardly ever wear the thing, and the room is dark, and you have a little headache.

After several attempts, I gave up, praying that my final groping effort would keep the clothes on me somehow, and made my way to the elevators; thank goodness the event was being held in my hotel. All of Clarion was at the door of the ballroom to meet me, and immediately I began to feel much better. I have to confess, though, that having flash bulbs go off repeatedly at that hour of the morning as your photo is taken several times does not make a little headache any smaller. I met some lovely people there, including Andrea Davis Pinkney, new head of children’s publishing for Houghton Mifflin (of which Clarion is an imprint), whose work as both author and editor is inspiring.

From left, Marjorie Naughton, Clarion’s marketing director; my genius editor, Dinah Stevenson; Virginia Buckley, editor of many wonderful writers, including Katherine Paterson
More Clarionettes! From left: Deb Shapiro, formerly Senior Publicist at Clarion; editor Jennifer Greene; art director JoAnn Hill; editor Michelle Coppola.
With Ed and Eve Bunting.
With Dinah Stevenson (did I already say she is a genius?).

From the breakfast to a waiting car that took me and David Wiesner and Deb Shapiro (then of Clarion’s marketing department, now of Simon & Schuster, and boy do I miss her!) to Hobbit Hall bookstore in suburban Atlanta. What a great place! A nice crowd of kids and parents, and best of all, I got to see David’s presentation, in which he showed the stages of the work for The Three Pigs. A terrific lunch at the Buckhead Diner (fried green tomatoes for the first time, and meatloaf, and mashed potatoes to die for); stock signing at another store –Chapter Eleven (“Books so cheap you’ll think we’re going out of business”); and back to the hotel at around 3:30, where I met up with my family.

I was so busy throughout ALA that unfortunately I didn’t get to attend any signings except my own! Here’s a photo of one of my local pals, Will Hubbell (author of Pumpkin Jack and the forthcoming Apples Here) signing for Albert Whitman.
Another signing that I missed: Mary Jane Auch (left) and Vivian VandeVelde (right), with librarian Sharon Salluzzo, signing Troll Teacher (which Vivian wrote and MJ illustrated) at the Holiday House booth.

At 6:00, Random House had a cocktail party at the Margaret Mitchell House, which is now a museum. Adrienne Waintraub did a wonderful job running the party — great food, my son must have eaten at least a couple dozen of the coconut butterflied shrimp! One room of the house has a wonderful display of letters Mitchell wrote during and after the writing of Gone With The Wind. I wish I’d had more time to read them, and will definitely go back the next time I’m in Atlanta. I got to meet UberEditor Wendy Lamb and another of my heroes, author Peter Dickinson. Dinner at a Chinese restaurant with The Clan — my husband and two children; my parents; my brother and his wife and my niece and nephew (Emma and Craig, who are pictured elsewhere on this site); and Nancy and Kathleen. And the day finished up with another drink with The Posse (We Value Consistency).

Sunday, June 16: Part 1

Breakfast (grits, of course—what did you expect??) with Kimberly Willis Holt, author of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor title My Louisiana Sky and National Book Award winner When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. Kimberly was one of the very first people I ‘met’ online five years ago, and she has been unfailingly kind and helpful ever since. We had a lovely visit, but drat, I didn’t have a photo taken with her. Hopefully we’ll meet up again soon so I can remedy that.

My first signing in the exhibit hall, for Listening Library. It was fun meeting so many people who love books! The highlight: Meeting the members of the Eva Perry Newbery Club from North Carolina — thirty-five kids on a field trip to ALA, what a terrific idea!

I stole a few moments late that morning with a group of old friends-Tedd Arnold, Vivian VandeVelde, Bruce Coville (and MJ Auch, who took the photo) and some new ones — Betsy Arnold and the Klapps. John Klapp did the lovely illustrations for Bruce s new book The Prince of Butterflies.

Meanwhile, my family was having fun in Atlanta without me:

My dad, Anna, and my mom after church with Katherine Paterson.
Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Niece Emma has her back to the camera, and then (from left) Anna, nephew Craig, sister-in-law Melanie, my husband Ben, brother Fred and my dad.

Then it was off to a lunch arranged by my agent Ginger Knowlton with authors Susan Campbell Bartoletti (winner of this year’s Sibert nonfiction award for Black Potatoes), Nancy Werlin (Black Mirror and many others), and Dian Curtis Regan (Princess Nevermore and many others!), at a place called South City Kitchen. A salad and chicken livers (yum) and great conversation.

Sunday, June 16: Part 2

Back to the exhibit hall for my first Clarion signing. As I got near the booth, I passed what I thought was a long conga line . . . it turned out to be people waiting for my signing, good grief! What a treat to meet librarians from all over the country; I loved finding out where they were from and only wish I could have spent more time chatting.

Editor Dinah Stevenson and my parents at the exhibit hall.
Signing. From left, my mom, my dad, me, my sister Julie Hubble, and Marjorie Naughton, Clarion’s director of marketing, partially hidden behind a customer who is buying LOTS of books!

The signing finished at 3:30; back to the hotel for a little rest, then spiffying-up for the Newbery-Caldecott banquet. Gulp.

Sunday, June 16: Part 3

The limo ride to the banquet. From left, Dinah Stevenson and my writing partner Marsha Hayles (barely visible); then back to front, my daughter Anna, me, and two-time Caldecott Medalist, two-time Honor winner (wow!) David Wiesner.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I wore—believe me, finding the right dress was as difficult as writing the speech! The dress was ice blue, almost silver, spaghetti straps, very straight and simple, with a little beading here and there in two tones of pink, and a matching jacket, also beaded. The ballroom lighting had an interesting effect on the color—I heard some accounts that the dress was pale green and others that it was ivory. I wore the pearls my mother had given me as a wedding present, with a pendant of pink topaz that had been made for the occasion. Although I did a fair bit of agonizing over what to

When I entered the banquet hall, I was taken aback to see two gigantic screens flanking the dais; I had not been warned that each of my pores would be magnified to the size of a quarter. . . Thankfully, I couldn’t see the screens while I spoke. I am pleased to report that dinner was not rubber chicken; it was salmon and filet mignon, and although I was too nervous to eat much, what I did eat was very tasty. Impressive, considering that at least a thousand meals were being served.

Carole Fiore, president of the Association of Library Service for Children, opened the award presentation. Kathleen Odean, chair of this year’s Newbery Award Selection committee, spoke next and presented plaques to Honor winners Polly Horvath (for Everything on a Waffle) and Marilyn Nelson (Carver: A Life in Poems)—both MUST-READS, in my opinion. Then Kathleen introduced me and gave me the Newbery Medal in a beautiful wooden box. (I’m getting goosebumps just typing that. . .) I loved Kathleen’s introductory remarks, and she has graciously given me permission to reprint them here.”

Kathleen Odean’s Award Comments

The text of my speech is available in the July/August issue of Horn Book magazine. I’m grateful to all those who spoke to me afterwards, telling me how much they had enjoyed hearing it. Speechwriting and speechgiving are new for me, so the kind comments were greatly appreciated. And yes, it’s true that I presented the Medal to my father. It was, after all, Father’s Day, and I am very grateful that both

Caldecott committee chair Kate McClellan spoke next and presented plaques to Bryan Collier (Martin’s Big Words, text by Doreen Rappaport); Bryan Selznick (The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, text by Barbara Kerley); and Marc Simont (The Stray Dog). Then she gave the Caldecott Medal to David Wiesner, who now has a remarkable collection-two Caldecott Medals (for The Three Pigs this year and for Tuesday in 1992) and two Honors (Sector 7, 2000 and Free Fall, 1989). David’s speech, also available in the July/August Horn Book, gave great insight into his artistic vision and process. He also did the fabulous cover of that issuecheck it out at the Horn Book website and see if you can spot the joke.

Banquet photos:

With Dinah again.
With my daughter Anna, age 13-and that’s water in her glass, not wine!
With my critique partner Marsha Hayles, author of He Saves the Day and several other adorable picture books.
With Marjorie Naughton of Clarion marketing (left) and at right, my cut-throat fashionista tennis-tiger agent Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd.
Daughter Anna, son Sean: toothpaste-ad candidates?
The ‘home team’ at the banquet: Vivian VandeVelde, Mary Jane Auch, Roxane Chadwick, Marsha Hayles.
Opening remarks by Carole Fiore, president of the Association for Library Service to Children. From left, Carole, Kathleen Odean, and me.
With David Wiesner and Dinah.
A hug after I gave the medal to my dad.
My niece Emma Park records the event!
A big smile of relief after finishing the speech.
My mom, my sister Julie Hubble and my sister-in-law Melanie Marshall-Park. No, that’s not a weird camera angle—Melanie really is a foot taller than my mom!
Proud parents with the Medal.
My dad lets my nephew Craig Park hold the Medal.

After the speeches, a long receiving line—another wonderful opportunity to meet librarians from all over the country.

From left, facing the camera: Newbery Honor winner Polly Horvath, Cynthia Richey (incoming ALSC President), Honor winner Marilyn Nelson, Caldecott Medalist David Wiesner, Caldecott committee chair Kate McClellan, me, Newbery committee chair Kathleen Odean.
With Marsha and Nancy Quade, my dear friend from Brooklyn. Recognize her name? Of course you do-it’s on the acknowledgments page of When My Name Was Keoko. As well as reading the manuscript, Nancy came through with some crucial research information for me during the writing of that book.

Monday, June 17

Another signing for Clarion Monday morning, a quick bite to eat with Dinah, and then on to dessert with a group of writers and librarians, where we laughed until our sides ached. The day finished with a dinner given by Clarion for the Newbery committee, my parents, and me. It was held in a private room at the Ritz. I got to change seats with every course so I had a chance to visit with everyone. With the speech behind me, I felt relaxed and so happy to be able to chat with the committee members. It was a perfect evening.

With Deb Shapiro, now of Simon & Schuster’s publicity department, but then my own personal Girl Friday
With my parents and THE Committee! From left, standing: Ken Setterington, Deborah Taylor, Vaunda Nelson, Chair Kathleen Odean, Gail Nordstrom, Joanne Jonas, Elizabeth Overmyer, my dad, Patty Carleton, my mom, Louise Sherman, Vicky Smith, Sharon Harvey, Junko Yokota; seated from left: Jeri Kladder, me holding the Medal (my dad let me borrow it), Roxanne Feldman, Lisa Falk.
My mom imparts some secret wisdom of inestimable value to me (probably something like, “Your slip is showing…”)
With my All-Girl band: From left, standing: Lynne Polvino, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Deb Shapiro, Michele Coppola, Jennifer Greene, Marjorie Naughton, Virginia Buckley, all of Houghton Mifflin/Clarion; Ginger Knowlton, me, Dinah Stevenson.

Tuesday, June 18

Tuesday morning I was privileged to attend the Coretta Scott King Award breakfast. Award recipient Mildred Taylor (for The Land) was unable to attend, so her editor Phyllis Fogelman read the speech Ms. Taylor had prepared. Fiction Honor winners Marilyn Nelson (Carver) and Sharon Flake (Money-Hungry) also spoke, as well as the illustration winners: Jerry Pinkney, Award for Goin’ Someplace Special-a book I LOVE-and Bryan Collier, Honor for Martin’s Big Words; and Jerrome Larrigue, John Steptoe New Talent Award recipient (for Freedom Summer, text by Deborah Wiles). There was a warm and celebratory spirit at this event and I enjoyed it immensely.

As well as hearing the winners speak, Mrs. King herself addressed the audience. It was truly thrilling to hear her, and I couldn’t have picked a better way for my magical weekend to finish.

Mrs. King speaks at the award breakfast named in her honor.

I flew home Tuesday afternoon, replete with memories of my magical time at ALA. A gazillion thanks to all who attended, and all who were there in spirit!

Photo credits: Lynne Polvino, JoAnn Hill, Ed Park, Ben Dobbin, Kay Winters, Julie Hubble, JoAnn Jonas