This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards Ceremony and the following day-long colloquium at Simmons College. Here were the highlights for me:
Elizabeth Partridge gave a fascinating talk about her book Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary. She also gave a very cool presentation about Google Lit Trips. If you have Google Earth installed on your computer (it's easy to do), you can download the Marching for Freedom file and take an interactive journey following the exact path the marchers took from Selma to Birmingham. Along the way, Ms. Partridge has embedded a treasure trove of information, music, audio clips from speeches, and photographs to help you delve deeper into the story. There are Google Lit Trips for everything from The Grapes of Wrath to The Kite Runner and Make Way for Ducklings. How cool is that?
Rebecca Stead and her editor, Wendy Lamb, gave a great panel presentation about the collaborative nature of the author-editor relationship. They told a story about their struggles in finding the perfect title for When You Reach Me (the title they originally wanted, "You Are Here," was being used by another book coming out at the same time). And Rebecca Stead did an excellent every-day time travel experiment in her acceptance speech as she read her speech from two different points of view: the Rebecca Stead writing the speech in September, and the point of view of the Rebecca Stead reading the speech in October.
Peter Sis was just as charming, self-deprecating, and intelligent as I imagined he would be. Both his acceptance speech and his contributions to the picture book panel discussion were insightful and inspirational. All of the speeches of the evening will be up online eventually, but if you'd like to get a taste, here is the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award speech Peter Sis gave a couple years ago when he won for his non-fiction book The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott Honor Book). If you prefer to read along, here is the text. And if you like video, it's a little slow, but you *can* watch it. Peter Sis is about 12 minutes in.