I was one of three happy children’s book creators honoured at the ceremony. (My teen novel, All Good Children, won the CLA 2012 Young Adult Book Award.) Author Kit Pearson was there to celebrate her latest novel, The Whole Truth, which won the CLA 2012 Book of the Year for Children Award. And visual artist Matthew Forsythe was there to receive this year’s Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award for the picture book, My Name is Elizabeth, written by Annika Dunklee. (Kit is a pro at these awards but Matt and I were newbies.)
The Awards were held in Ottawa this year, in the gorgeous glass-walled Convention Centre (photo at right – it’s even better from the inside). The evening was beautiful, the hors d’oeuvres were delicious, and the room was full of exuberant librarians and library supporters. After an entertaining word from the sponsors (Library Services Canada and TD Canada Trust), the three awards were introduced by the Chairs of the three jury committees, and we received our plaques and cheques. (The photo below shows me receiving my prize from Michael Monahan, CEO of Library Services Canada, with Carol Rigby, Chair of the CLA Young Adult Committee.)
And they had such nice things to say! Sigh. It was really moving. I’d heard about my win over a month ago, but it didn’t really hit home until I heard the YA Chair, Carol Rigby, describe the long annual process of receiving and reviewing all the eligible YA novels. Holy smokes, that’s a lot of books to choose one winner from. And my book was chosen. Unanimously. Wow. Hearing that really made it hit home what an exceptional honour I have received.
I was so nervous while speaking to the audience that I have no recollection of it at all – I remember being introduced, then there’s a blank, and next thing I’m drinking wine and smiling ear to ear. But everyone tells me I did just fine. And I look insanely happy in the photos.
Everyone in the audience at the reception got to take home one of the three winning books. So after the awards I spent some time signing copies and chatting with readers. Now, that’s something I always LOVE. There’s nothing like talking books with book lovers.
The next morning, June 1st, Kit and Matthew and I met with a few classes of children at the Ottawa Public Library for a fun follow-up event of reading and drawing. It was great. A wonderful end to May and a beautiful beginning to June.