Friday, April 28, 2017

Maine Reading Roundup and the Lupine Awards

Each year the Youth Services Section of the Maine Library Association presents the Lupine Awards. They are given to a living author or illustrator who is a Maine resident, or who has created a work whose focus is on Maine. Miss Rumphius, the character created by beloved Maine author and artist Barbara Cooney, was the inspiration for the Lupine Awards.

The awards are given at the spring Reading Roundup conference, which is hands down one of my favorite "literary" events in Maine. That's because it's a gathering of LIBRARIANS, and let's face it: if you're a writer, especially a kidlit writer, your two best friends are Independent Booksellers and School Librarians. Not only are these people fun, but ... they are so well read! They are also the bridge between your books and your readers, so, yeah. We love them.

I have many "favorite" librarians in Maine, but Jill Hooper, of Freeport Middle School, is one of my absolute faves. She is creative and fun and such a great advocate for kids and books! She also lives one town over from me and we often grocery shop at the same time, which means engaging in fun "Have you read this?" conversations in the cheese section while our kids try to get us out of there. Anyway, Jill was my "guide" at this year's Reading Roundup, which naturally meant: selfie!
Say "Cheese!"
In addition to award presentations and workshops (you can learn a lot at Reading Roundup!) there is always a keynote speaker and this year we had the amazing John Schumacher, aka "Mr. Schu." What can I say about this guy? He's a Reading Ambassador, an Xtreme Librarian, and possibly the most entertaining, indefatigable speaker I've ever heard. Most importantly, he preaches The Good News of Literacy, and is a relentless cheerleader for great books and for kids. I was thrilled to get a picture with the famous Mr. Schu:
Me and "Mr. Schu"
If you don't already follow Mr. Schu's blog, I suggest you check it out. He's also on Twitter.

So after Mr. Schu and workshops and lunch it was: award time! I was thrilled to receive the Lupine Honor for Wrecked, but even more thrilled to share the day and the stage with Ryan Higgins, who received the Lupine Picture Book Honor for Hotel Bruce; Ashley Bryan, who received the Lupine Picture Book Award for Freedom Over Me (which also won a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor this year!); and Melissa Sweet, who not only received the Lupine Award for Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White  (a New York Times Bestseller!) but also the Katahdin Lifetime Achievement Award.
Left to right: me, Ryan Higgins, Melissa Sweet, Ashley Bryan.

I left Reading Roundup this year feeling so incredibly blessed to be part of the children's writing community in Maine. Not only because of the depth of the talent pool (seriously: throw a rock and hit an award-winning kidlit writer around here) but the support. Everyone is so Kind. Helpful. Inspiring. It's a wonderful place to create art and stories and we are so fortunate to call Maine home.

Here are a few more pictures from the day. Thank you, Maine Librarians!
Before everything got rolling, "Mr. Schu" and Ashley Bryan had a chance to chat.
I got a picture with Ashley Bryan!
These beautiful plates are made by Maine artist Toby Rosenberg.
Wrecked has a sticker!

Standing ovation at the Augusta Civic Center when Ashley Bryan received his award.