There are so many reasons I love to attending conferences like the one I went to this past week. It is more than the free swag (though that is awesome – especially the books!) and learning opportunities. It is more than networking and being with people who are just as excited and passionate as I am about libraries. It is the revival of that passion. It is also the inspiration to return home and ignite that passion in others.
As I stated in a previous post, Monday I attended the Youth Media Awards. It is events like this that help to revive my excitement over my career choice. How could it not? The YMA is all about the best in youth media over the previous year. I’m a children’s librarian. It stands to reason that I would be excited to find out which books, video and audiobooks were considered to be the best…especially since I have read a ton of them just for fun.
The video winner wasn’t a surprise. I was on the committee that picked it. Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus by Mo Willems is an excellent picture book. The video was even better.
I had my hopes for the Newbery and Caldecott winners and they were brought to life. I was beyond happy to find out that When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead was the Newbery pick and The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney was the Caldecott winner. From the moment I read these books I wanted them to be the winners. They are that great.
To add to the excitement and inspiration of the event, the winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award (Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal), Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, was sitting just a couple of rows behind me. When they announced the winner, several people from other awards committees jumped out of their seats and ran to congratulate her. The overwhelming joy was contagious. Even though I do not personally know her, I had tears in my eyes!
Now I am back to the daily grind, where I hope to pass along that enthusiasm for children’s literature to the patrons of my library. Who knows? A future Caldecott illustrator or Newbery author might be the child who comes to storytime tomorrow.