Wednesday, November 13, 2013

FALL GALA: Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC)

Last Saturday, November 9th, I attended the 52nd annual Fall Gala of the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (formerly SCCLCYP) at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.  As always, it was a delightful morning with a delicious breakfast and the chance to see friends, meet librarians and teachers, and to hear inspirational talks.  The featured speaker was Linda Sue Park, whose talk focused on her life as an author and how reading has been key to the development of the ideas for her books.  We heard how a poem led to her book The Third Gift and how a meeting with a Sudanese refugee inspired her book A Long Walk to Water and how that book has stimulated thousands of students to sponsor wells for villages in Sudan.  She also read to us her new book Xander's Panda Party, a charming story in verse with amazing art by Matt Phelan.
     The program also included awards to Carrie Arcos (Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature), Betsy R. Rosenthal (Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Award), Wes Troke (Inspiring Work of Historical Fiction), Jon Klassen (Excellence in Picture Book Artistry), Doug TenNapel (Groundbreaking Graphic Novel) and Allyn Johnston (Dorothy C. McKenzie Award).  Each of them, except for Jon Klassen and Doug TenNapel who couldn't be there) gave touching acceptance speeches.  Allyn's speech recounted the course of her career in publishing.  When she was at Harcourt she was the editor of three of my books, A Guide Dog Puppy Grows Up, On the Brink of Extinction, and Hawk Highway in the Sky.
     I thank Marjorie Arnett, the Gala Coordinator and the 2013 Awards Committee for a terrific program and a wonderful morning celebrating books for children.

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