|Me, signing books with Carrie Mesrobian.|
On Sunday night I had dinner with all the Morris Award finalists, as well as the 2014 Morris Award committee (which included Booklist senior editor and YA horror author Daniel Kraus). We all chatted about books, favorite TV series, Frozen, spirit ectoplasm, and various other entertaining topics, but I still felt like I was in a surreal, can't-quite-completely-process-what's-happening state of mind.
Early Monday morning, my editor, Maggie Lehrman, my publicist, Laura Mihalick, and I headed over to the ALA Youth Media Awards at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where the anticipation was palpable. I've watched webcasts of past Youth Media Awards and knew the announcements entailed loud whoops and gasps of joy from the audience, but actually sitting in the middle of the event blew my mind.
|In the Shadow of Blackbirds on the screen.|
After all of the awards, including the Newbery and Caldecotts, were announced, Maggie whisked me off to the Abrams booth, where I signed copies of In the Shadow of Blackbirds for an hour and hungrily collected advance reading copies of my fellow Amulet Books authors' novels. One book I grabbed was Sarah Skilton's upcoming YA noir, High and Dry, which I read and loved during the plane ride home.
Maggie and I then headed to YALSA's Morris & Nonfiction Award Program & Presentation, where every winner and finalist gave a short speech. I believe transcripts of all of our speeches will eventually be available at http://www.ala.org/yalsa. Here are some photos from the presentation:
|Me, being introduced before my speech.|
|At the podium! Fellow finalist Evan Roskos is on the far right.|
The next and last stop was signing books for the attendees of the presentation. I walked over to my table, and I saw a sight that finally made everything seem right-there-in-the-moment real: the Morris Award finalist seal was attached to every copy of my book.
My eyes welled with tears. I didn't actually lose my composure and ugly cry in front of everyone, but I was most certainly moved. Seeing the jpeg of my cover with the sticker back in December was astounding enough, but to have the actual three-dimensional book in front of me and be able to run my hands over the words on the seal, that's a moment I'll never forget.
YALSA also presented me with a gorgeous plaque:
Thank you YALSA for creating this award, thank you 2014 Morris Award committee for selecting In the Shadow of Blackbirds as a finalist, and thank you Abrams for sending me to Philadelphia so I could partake in this incredible experience. As you can tell from the smile on my face in the photo above, I'm ecstatic!