The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate won the coveted Newbery Award this morning at the American Library Association Conference here in Seattle! I sat in the audience as the awards were revealed at the press conference.
At the press conference, the ALA announces the winners of numerous book awards such as the Coretta Scott King Award and Geisel Awards. Then it’s time for Caldecott and Newbery – last in line. These two awards are the most prestigious and coveted in the US for the writers and illustrators of children’s literature.
I was thrilled to see my personal favorite picture book win the Caldecott! There lots of happy clapping and screaming in the audience (yes, librarians scream – loudly!) as we saw the winning book show on the big screen!
Then it was time for the Newbery. One by one the titles of the Honor winners were released. I held my breath as I saw Spendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb:The Race to Build – and Steal- the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage win the honor awards.
I think most of the audience inhaled and waited for the final slide to show. What book would it be? The whoops of joy filled the room and tears filled my eyes! I tried to take a photo of the slide showing that Ivan won, but all I got was a photo of the ceiling when I jumped out of my chair! It was a magical moment to be in a room filled with all that love for a book that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world. I tried taking a picture again, but it sure came out blurry! My hands were shaking too much to be very good at holding still.
Lots of hugs were shared with fellow librarians. Especially happy was Mr. Schu, who visited the real Ivan last summer and possibly has the only copy of the signed book by both Ivan and Katherine Applegate. You can read his very moving post about what it meant to meet Ivan at the Atlanta Zoo here. We shared some tears together as we realized that our shared love for a very special book won top honors. Here is a photo courtesy of John Schu showing both the author and Ivan signatures.
After the press conference was over, I went to the exhibit hall to visit the HarperCollins booth. They published The One and Only Ivan. I got there in time to see one of the representatives place the gold Newbery sticker on the book! Notice that Ivan is looking at the sticker!
Ivan also had his picture taken with “Ivan” at the booth!
A few minutes later, Anne Hoppe, the editor stopped by too! If you remember, she visited with Katherine and Julia last April when they came for our school visit. She shared that it is very special experience to be the editor of a book that wins a Newbery.
I can’t even think of the words to describe what it was like to see a book that has so totally touched my heart and changed my life win the Newbery. I just hope now even more thousands of children pick it up and share the story. Like so many of you who purchased a copy last spring, we now own a signed Newbery book! How absolutely fantastic is that???
I wish Katherine and her family could have been in Seattle to experience announcement in person. The good news is that they will have the opportunity to receive the award in person in Chicago in June!
Never heard of Ivan and want to know more? Here is the trailer I made last year. I hope you will watch it and then run to your local library or bookstore and get a copy!