How wide can I smile??????The announcement was made early Monday morning and I was there to hear them say, “And the winner is….” The entire ALA experience was mindblowing and fun and happy, happy, happy celebrating!
The committee actually called my house Saturday evening but we were across the street having dinner with friends (coq au vin, in case you’re wondering what kind of cooks I befriend), and so I missed that call on my cell phone which was on the kitchen table in my purse. I didn’t check my phone until Sunday morning when husband Jeff told me my purse had been making weird noises. When I looked at my cell phone, I had a ton of missed calls beginning with Don Latham, the committee chair asking me to call him, then finally, a call that said he was sorry he’d missed me but Janis Joplin Rise Up Singing was the award winner. Would I please call him back. Well, I’m a girl and so I did what girls do. I screamed, OMYGOD! OMYGOD! OMYGOD! (I think I might also have screamed Holy Shit! but I can’t be certain). Jeff was all, WHAT! WHAT! WHAT! I said screamed JANIS WON! SHE WON! And there you have it.
Actually, I was packed and ready to go to the airport by 11 am even though my plane to ALA didn’t take off until 7 that night. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t tell anyone until the Monday morning award announcement. I could have walked to San Diego I was so excited.
The other four finalists were powerful writers and books and I’m so proud to be in that company. They include :“They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group,” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; “Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement,” by Rick Bowers and published by National Geographic Society; “The Dark Game: True Spy Stories,” by Paul Janeczko and published by Candlewick Press; and “Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates,” by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw and published by Charlesbridge.Each one was so strong, in fact, that I refused to hazard a guess as to the winner. I also felt like the Janis Joplin team had done such an amazing job of bringing the art and music to the book through page design and photo placement that I seriously, secretly thought it was possible. But that was my secret! Now I can say — Thank you YALSA committee!
I’ve posted photos on facebook but I’ll also post them here. But, first, I also have to tell you that Abrams Books won a total of four awards this year. Editor and publisher Susan Van Metre had the honor of stickering books:
They say ALA awards can change a writer’s life. I have such a good life because I have the opportunity to pursue my passion for telling stories. I don’t know if I can imagine what changes will come on the wind of this award, but I’m remaining open to all the possibilities in the world!