Friday, November 21, 2008

Scarsdale, and the National Book Awards

I met another Super Librarian, this time in New York, at Scarsdale Middle School. Liz Waltzman (check out her website) is one of those people who gets more done before lunch than I get done in a week. Make that two weeks. Oh, and she does this while suffering from a cold and wearing Uggs. Uggs are HUGE in Scarsdale. I asked one auditorium group how many of them owned a pair of Uggs, and about 60% of the hands went up. I didn’t spend quite as much time with non-Uggs-wearing Scarsdale Super Librarian #2, Sharon Waskow, but she managed to explain the terrifying New York City Subway system so well that I rode the trains all over Manhattan without once ending up in Flatbush or Brighton Beach. Thanks, Sharon! I also met three or four hundred Super Eighth Graders over a two day period, and I am KICKING myself because I did not take my camera out, not even once. So I have no visual evidence that I was actually there. But it was a great visit. I had never before had the chance to do two days running with the same group of students. For once, I almost had time to talk about all the things I wanted to talk about, and the students had time to ask their questions both in an auditorium format, and in smaller workshop-size groups. Their questions were really good. Nobody asked me how much money I make, if I’m friends with Stephanie Meyer, or whether I prefer boxers or briefs. Wednesday, after a full day of workshops in Scarsdale, I went down to Manhattan and put on my tuxedo (a forty-five minute project due to suspender and cufflink problems) to attend the National Book Awards Banquet at Cipriani on Wall Street (go here for lots of pictures). It was a fabulous event, even better than last year. The room was stunning, the people watching was bookalicious, and the food was remarkably good for a banquet of that size (I think there were about 700 people there). I’m going to drop some names now, so if you find such things irritating it’s time to tune out. And yes, I know I’m a lousy photographer. Here is Laurie Halse Anderson with her editor Kevin Lewis, at the pre-ceremony reception. Laurie’s book Chains was a finalist in the Young People’s Literature category. This was Laurie’s second appearance at the NBA. Judy Blundell, whose book What I Saw and How I Lied, was the winner, is standing here with her editor (and mine!), David Levithan. Congratulations, Judy! (BTW, David was not drunk, I must have caught him in mid-blink.) The winner in the YPL category was announced by Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, a very funny guy who, apparently, loves to be on stage, as he spent a long seven minutes entertaining the crowd while the five finalists suffered through an eternity of churning stomachs and heart palpitations while waiting for the verdict. Other celebrity sightings include Peter Matthiessen, whose novel Shadow Country won for best novel... ...and Jonathan Franzen, who won best novel for The Corrections back in, um, I think it was 1999. (Nope, it was 2001.)  I like this picture. It was even better before I took the red out of his eyes. And when I got home…

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