The crowd at this year's Children's Literature Council Fall Gala seemed a little smaller than it has in years past, and just a little more casual too, which was nice.
I was pleased that the event was hosted at the Skirball Cultural Center this year. The Bowers museum, where it's been hosted in the past, was lovely but a verry long drive for me.
The keynote speaker was Jennifer Holm of Babymouse fame, and she was delightfully entertaining. She gave a wonderful talk about some of the things that inspired her. I was introduced to her, briefly, and when she heard my name is Madigan, she asked, "Oh, do you go by Maddy?" To which I replied, (perhaps a little too sternly?) "No, I prefer Madigan." She answered that by saying, "Oh my gosh! I was just asking!" She said it in such a chirpy and funny way for a brief moment it was almost like talking to Babymouse herself. How awesome!
Most exciting, was that my old friend Hope Anita Smith had won the Myra Cohn Livingston award for poetry for her book, Keeping the Night Watch. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but for just a teensy-tiny second, I was afraid that since I haven't seen her in a few years, and she's won so many awards, maybe there would be some distance between us? Happily, that wasn't the case. She asked me if I wouldn't mind taking her photograph when she got her award, even though there was already an official photographer set up. I guess, when she got her Coretta Scott King award, there was some kind of photo mishap, and she wanted to make certain to catch a photo of this one. So, I gladly obliged. That meant, of course, that I don't have any photos of the event, because I was using Hope's camera. I did snap this photo afterward, as the authors signed books in the courtyard. Jennifer Holm is sitting up front, looking a little weary (I'm not sure how many books she must have signed at this point, but I'm sure it was a lot) Hope is sitting just behind her, steadily signing away.