I am back in California now after a whirlwind weekend at the midwinter ALA conference in Philadelphia, and it is just starting to sink in that Charm & Strange actually won the 2014 William C. Morris award! I’m stunned, thrilled, shocked, humbled, honored, and just so grateful for this recognition from YALSA and the 2014 Morris committee. I also have so much love for Carrie Mesrobian, Evan Roskos, Elizabeth Ross, and Cat Winters, and their beautiful, beautiful books.
I wish I were one of those people who can document events as they’re happening: through photos or tweets or something. But when I’m excited, I get so flustered I forget to do any of those things and then kick myself later. My husband did take a few photos, which I want to share, along with some of my favorite moments from the weekend:
- The Morris dinner. On Sunday night (the night before the awards announcement), all of the authors, editors, and agents had dinner with the entire 2014 Morris committee. It was amazing. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet everyone involved in this process, and to make connections with them. Books are personal, whether one is a reader or a writer, and the whole evening just held this gracious atmosphere of reflection and warmth and gratitude. It felt very meaningful and special to be able to come together like that, and it’s a memory I will cherish.
- Buttons. Oh my goodness, the committee made personalized buttons for each of the books. They are beautiful.
- Breakfast with Kelly Jensen on Monday morning. I admire Kelly so much. Getting to have breakfast with her is a treat under any circumstances, but she was the one who was with me when I got the call from the committee on the morning of the awards ceremony, and it was perfect. She kept asking me “are you all right?”
- Being at the ALA Youth Media Awards. It was a blast getting to be there when all the awards were announced. The room was filled with such energy and passion: for the award recipients and for the committee members, who all worked SO HARD over the year to make that moment happen. Amazing. The Morris committee had the buttons. The Printz committee had hoodies. The Caldecott committee had train whistles. Another committee had donuts. It was very cool to see.
- The Morris and Nonfiction Award program. This was an event that happened later on Monday morning where all of the finalists for both of these awards were able to speak about their books. I loved hearing about everyone’s journeys and how their stories came to be told.
- People. I met and spent time with so many incredible people this weekend. Librarians, authors, agents, bloggers, editors, and more. People who love books and who care about readers. There is nothing better.
- Hanging out and exploring Philadelphia with Carrie Mesrobian and her awesome husband.
- Seeing Charm & Strange with the gold sticker on it (although I forgot to get one, whoops) and receiving this beautiful award:
Now that I’m home and settled and able to reflect a bit, it’s making me very emotional. So much goes into making a book, and I’m so touched by everything everyone has done for this story. I also get emotional when I think about what the story means and who I wrote it for. There’s joy in life but also sadness, and both are real and true.
Thank you to everyone who has sent well wishes. It means so much to me. Congratulations also to all the books and authors honored on Monday, as well as to all books and authors everywhere that make a positive difference in the lives of their readers.