Saturday, December 14, 2013

FOCAL Award Luncheon, Honoring ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams Garcia

Luncheon table centerpiece for One Crazy Summer, depicting the palm tree next to Cecile's house in Oakland, her poetry, a replica of Delphine's Timex watch, a Chinese take-out box, and Miss Patty Cake, all arranged in the top of a suitcase.
Last Saturday, December 7, 2013, was the thirty-third annual celebration of the FOCAL Award of the Friends of Children and Literature, the support group of the children’s department at the Los Angeles Public Library.  The award this year was given to Rita Williams Garcia for her book One Crazy Summer.  It was a gala event, held at the Border Grill in downtown Los Angeles (across the street from the library), with great food, an inspiring talk by Rita, wonderful essays read by the student essay contest winners and the presentation of the puppet created by Carol Onofrio.  A revolving slide show created by Mara Alpert from the library reminded us of the winning books and their companion puppets from the past.  

Rita Williams Garcia
One Crazy Summer is a great book, Anita is an engaging speaker, the centerpieces, created by students of Ray Moszkowicz at Palms Middle School, and Carol Onofrio’s puppets were amazing as always, and the kids' winning essays were terrific. The contest winners sat at the head table with Rita and I loved how Rita interacted with them. They were truly thrilled to meet her.

Rita autographing a book and puppet
I thank all the people who helped make the luncheon possible–the FOCAL Board, headed by Caroline Gill; the essay judges, chaired by Sandy Schuckett; the awards committee, of which I was Chair; the library staff; and Ray Moszkowicz and his students at Palms Middle School. And above all I thank Rita Williams Garcia, who flew all the way to Los Angeles from her home in Queens, New York, for her gracious acceptance of the award.

For more about Rita’s book One Crazy Summer and this year’s FOCAL committee, see my posts for November 16, 2013 and July 10, 2013.

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