Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

The Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala or I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. Scieszka

Photo credit: Sophie Blackall

Subtlety was never my strong suit.

And speaking of suits, how crazy is that one?  Yes, if you happened to be at this Monday’s 8th annual Children’s Choice Book Awards gala then you may have cast thine peepers on this understated little ensemble.  Twitter at the moment is vacillating between whether or not it belongs in the Willy Wonka camp or is the legal property of The Joker.  I remain neutral on the matter, though the spats clearly tip the balance in favor of The King of Clowns.

So why, precisely, was I wearing this to the gala?  Am I so bereft of dresses that I must resort to tuxedos of luminous hue?  Well, it just so happened that I was the co-host this year.  You see originally Jon Scieszka was slated to host alongside Oliver Jeffers.  However, the situation changed and Jon ended up asking me if I wanted to host alongside him.  The catch (or the lure, depending on how you look at it): I would be obligated to wear Oliver’s purple tuxedo alongside Jon’s.  Because life, my friends, is too short to not wear a purple tuxedo once in a while.

This being a lifelong dream of mine (lifelong = ever since I saw Jarrett Krosoczka do it) I immediately said yes yes yes yes yes!!  However, while my body is many things it is not adequately equipped to fill out a tux.  So I was aided in very large part by the generosity of one Marci Morimoto of the Met Museum who turned this:

Into this:

The shoes, for the record, are spectator shoes which have been in search of the perfect outfit for years.  So Monday really was the fulfillment of a rather long dream.

If you’ve not attended the gala before, it’s quite the to do.  Exceedingly good food. Delightful company. And a new trendy space that looked something like this:

Purple, yes.  We had a theme to maintain.  This may or may not have had some bearing on this year’s purple Children’s Book Week poster.

Just to remind you, the CCBA is sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, and all donations and profits from the event go to Every Child a Reader, an organization that focuses on encouraging the love of literature from a young age.

Usually at the gala there’s some kind of wackiness on hand, thanks in part to whoever is hosting at a given moment.  In the past we’ve had Jarrett Krosoczka, Lisa Yee, and I believe Robin Preiss Glaser.  And boy howdy do the stars come out!  Here’s just a brief smattering of the folks at hand:

Cece Bell in the world’s greatest dress. Nuff said.

Andrea Davis Pinkney (putting us ALL to shame)

Brian Selznick, Jacqueline Woodson, and David Levithan

Brian Floca and Katherine Roy (who is due to give birth in August)

E. Lockhart and Jason Reynolds

And initially I looked like this:

Just to prove I can prettify if called upon to do so.

But all good things must come to an end and behind the scenes things began to change.  By the time the show began you would have seen something akin to these two yuksters taking the stage:

It only picks up from there.

In the course of the evening there were a couple additional surprises.  For example, at one point Jon mentioned that our next presenter was the infinitely “shy” and “understated” Matt de la Pena.  A man who was unafraid to come out looking like so:

And from the camera’s p.o.v.:

Jon said the same thing about Jackie Woodson, setting up expectations.  So it was all the funnier when she came out looking not wacky in the least but cool, calm and collected:

It’s all about set-up and payoff.  When Brian Selznick was announced Jon made it clear that he was a shy guy, and he would never ever wear anything flashy or attention grabbing.  Which set everyone up nicely for what I will dub the suit of the century:

I caught a pic of these two fellas prior to this, of course:

For the complete roster of winners you can check out CNN’s coverage of the votes.  For a good round-up of the gala itself, Bookish has you covered.  And if you’d like to see more of the photos taken that night, they’re accessible here.  Please note that most of my photos here are from the Children’s Book Council unless otherwise noted.

Finally, it really is Children’s Book Week right now (May 4-10).  Be sure to celebrate reading and books for young people with the event nearest to you! #CBW15

A million thanks to Jon and the good folks at the CBC for making my strange, twisted, delighted little dreams come true.  More fun than I deserve, and that’s the truth.




About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Am I wrong in thinking a la Zoolander that the attendees at this event are Really, Really Ridiculously Good-Looking?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      No, they are. Everyone in the publishing industry is. It’s unnerving. This is why I swath myself in purple.

  2. Cavorting in purple alongside Jon Scieszka, our esteemed former Ambassador. Betsy, you are too cool!

  3. tanita says:

    Oh, the SUNGLASSES, Bets. YES. Keep those puppies.
    Looks like it was a ton of fun.