Friday, August 7, 2009

Out & About in Cleveland

Good news! My nonfiction picture book Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move received the Growing Good Kids - Excellence in Children’s Literature Award from the American Horticultural Society and the National Junior Master Gardener Program.

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Cleveland to receive the award at the 2009 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Cleveland, Ohio. During the award ceremony at Case Western Reserve University, I spoke briefly to an attentive and welcoming audience of teachers, Master Gardeners, university extension faculty, garden writers, and other youth garden enthusiasts.

After the ceremony, I signed books at the gorgeous Cleveland Botanical Garden. We strolled through the Hershey Children's Garden and the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse with its indoor butterfly exhibit. What an exciting day! (Here I am with Randy Seagraves of the National Junior Master Gardener Program.)

Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move grew out of my desire to combine my love of poetry with what I knew about writing nonfiction. Holiday House editor Mary Cash and illustrator Pam Paparone deserve a sizeable portion of the credit for any successes of the book. Holiday House also helped make it possible for me to travel to Cleveland.

My husband Gene drove me all the way to Cleveland and back. On the way there, we stopped for dinner in South Bend, Indiana, with April Pulley Sayre, who also gave us a tour of the Notre Dame campus. Coffee in hand, we took a much-needed walk around a pond, past The Grotto, and into the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Our friend Susan welcomed us to Cleveland and showed us the town, including Lake View Cemetery, where we peeked into the Wade Memorial Chapel. The interior, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, includes wall-sized mosaics and an amazing leaded glass window.

As a writer, I spend much of my time alone, scribbling in a notebook or staring at a computer. An opportunity to travel, visit good friends, and meet new people provides a welcome break--plus it's fun to be the center of attention once in a while!

Of course, I never really work alone. Support from my family, my Vermont College classmates (a.k.a. The Hive), my brilliant writing group, five warm and generous blogmates, and other writer friends enables me to pursue my dream of writing for children. Any recognition for my work not only belongs to all of us but also reminds me how lucky I am!


Carmela Martino said...

Hooray and congratulations, JoAnne! The award is well-deserved.

Gretchen Woelfle said...

JoAnn: Congratulations on your moment in the sun! Yes, writing is an odd mix of solitude and community. I'm honored to be part of yours.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Joann! Great news!