ALSC is hosting Facebook Forums with Caldecott medal and honor-winning illustrators, as a part of the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Caldecott Medal. This past Thursday morning, Melissa Sweet was at the ALSC Facebook site to chat with whoever showed up. A couple of her responses to the “how does the medal change your life” question:
- That a group of people agreed your book rose to the top makes all the nights I woke up in the middle of the night wondering how to solve some design problem worth it…
- I see it [the medal and a photo of the committee] a trillion times a day and I never take it for granted. It’s more like: Get back to work!
I appreciate hearing this because this is exactly what I hope the Newbery and Caldecott Medals do for the children’s book industry. They are about recognizing the effort of the book creators, yes. To me, the recognition is only half the point and maybe (sorry Melissa) the lesser half. To me, the recognition is in service of inspiring more work: creating a drive to meet and exceed that standard that’s been set. I’d never expect writers or illustrators to best themselves every time. But I like to think that they try to, each time.
I think that this is my favorite point in a Newbery year…we’ve seen much of the best, considered and reconsidered it. This weekend, in Oakland CA, Heavy Medalers will work hard through an afternoon to select our Mock Winner. Over this week and next, we hope other Mock Newberies will share their results with us too….until that morning when we get to the “real” ones. I put “real” in quotes because right now, while we have no idea what those will be….we do know what our own favorites are, and have a pretty darn good sense of how hard their authors worked on them. Makes me feel rich to imagine medals on all of them.