Friday, January 15, 2010

And the Winner is…or How I Learned I’d Won!

I almost deleted the email.

It came from my website and the subject header was, “Question for You”…as in Blessed One, How much money can you send to my cancer-ridden mother in Nigeria?

But I opened it:

Hi April,
Please give me a call when you get a chance. I wanted to ask you a question about your book.
Thank you,
Kathe Pinchuck, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
Association of Jewish Libraries

It included her phone number.

The Sydney Taylor Book Award is for the best Jewish children’s book of the year in three categories (Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers) given by the Association of Jewish Libraries.  I’d savored the chicken at the STB Awards dinner at the AJL Convention in Chicago last year.  The conventioneers were smart and welcoming--I'm so glad I attended.

What question could she have about New Year at the Pier?  Did she want to know if my wonderful illustrator, Stéphane Jorisch, was from the United States?  Would they disqualify our book from consideration if they discovered he is a Canadian?  (Not to worry.  The Association of Jewish Libraries is an international organization; the award is an international award.)  What else could she want to know?

So...the question she asked me?  “April, where on the cover of New Year at the Pier do you think the gold Sydney Taylor medal should go?”


And here’s the hardest part of all: I could only tell my husband.  Okay...I told my son, too.  (I mean, really.)  Then we hunkered down and did a lot of NOT TELLING for a week.  (Remember Show, Don't Tell?  This was Don't Show, Don't Tell...)

In July, they will fly me and my husband to the AJL Convention where I will finally meet
Stéphane Jorisch, illustrator extraordinaire, in person!

Here’s the complete list of the 2010 Sydney Taylor winners, honor books, and notable books.

And here’s a shout-out to my friends Elka Weber, who wrote the honor book, Yankee at the Seder, and to Jacqueline Dembar Greene, who wrote The Secret Shofar of Barcelona.

And here
is the podcast by  Heidi Estrin, wonderous light of librarians everywhere, who says of this podcast, “They let me record the big reveal, which you'll hear first. Then I snuck Kathe Pinchuck, the awards chair, out of the meeting for a little while to talk about the books in detail.”  Heidi also writes a fabulous blog devoted to this award.  (Yes, Heidi is everywhere in cyberspace you want to be...)

Thanks to all who have sent me an email, a facebook message or phoned in their congratulations.  Winning this award means so much to they'll say my name in the same breath as fellow Teaching Author Esther Hershenhorn, who won the Sydney Taylor in 2003 for her book Chicken Soup by Heart!  

Okay.   That's enough for today.  Forgive me for repeating myself, but
WOW, wow, woweeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

all drawings by April Halprin Wayland


Patricia J. Weaver said...

Sooo, I take it you was excited. hahaha
Try on of your moves in the pictures, I think I hurt myself. Just kidding.
As we say in Alabama, you go girlfriend.

Brenda said...

Congratulations April! What a wonderful honor! Yippeeeee!

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Mazel tov, April, Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner!
I'm kvelling for you, pat-pat-patting my chest as I smile, then sigh.
Your story's heart knows no boundaries, which is why the book deserved and earned this wondrous award.
Savor this Moment.
Your Fan Esther

Carmela Martino said...

Hurray for our very own award-winning TA! Congratulations, April.

mary ann rodman said...

I love NEW YEAR AT THE PIER and so happy that for once, an awards committee agrees with me! High fives all around for April.

Gail Piernas-Davenport said...

What a great way to start Awards Season! Congrats!

Greg Pincus said...

I can't believe I was hanging out with you AND HAD NO IDEA. You're good. You're realllllllly good.

Congratulations! And thanks for sharing the story, too. Very fun.

Mary Ann Dames said...

Congratulations, April. What a round about way to be told you won. And how much fun.

Megan Frances Abrahams said...

Congratulations - and lovely drawings by the way. I'm delighted I got to meet you at the 2008 SCBWI conference - you critiqued one of my picture books. I must look for New Year at the Pier.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Wowee, indeed! I will need to buy some new copies with the pretty gold medals. Where, pray tell, did you decide they should go?

April Halprin Wayland said...

I'm not sure where the gold medal will go. But I mean...does it matter? They can put it on my forehead!

Heidi Rabinowitz said...

Oh April, you are so adorable. We need to get our Mutual Appreciation Society membership cards printed up already, don't we? Mazel tov on a job well done! Glad you'll be at the AJL convention 2 years running!

KSP said...

April -

Mazal Tov again! The best part of my responsibilities is calling the winners, and it was indeed a pleasure to share the good news with you. I loved the illustrations, and I really did wonder how the illustrator was able to capture Tashlich in Manhattan Beach when he lives in Montreal. I guess that is the magic of illustration, and, of course, great writing to inspire the creative mind.

Lynn E. Hazen said...

Congratulations April. Great post. My favorite part? This:
“April, where on the cover of New Year at the Pier do you think the gold Sydney Taylor medal should go?”

Anonymous said...

This was such a fun post to read. Thank you for sharing your experience. I can absolutely picture the phone call scene...

mazal tov!!!