Saturday, October 18, 2008


This morning I went to the Children's Literature Council of Southern California's 2008 Fall Gala at the beautiful Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California to celebrate my friend and critique partner, Stephanie Hemphill. Once again, she won the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry. This year she won it for her amazing book, YOUR OWN, SYLVIA:A VERSE PORTRAIT OF SYLVIA PLATH. (She also won the award last year for her book, THINGS LEFT UNSAID.) It was a beautiful event with a delicious breakfast followed by speeches from Keynote Speaker Louis Sachar (HOLES, WAYSIDE SCHOOL BOOKS, etc.), Stephanie Hemphill (of course!), James St. James (FREAK SHOW," Peggy Miller Award for Young Adult Literature "), Gretchen Woelfle (JEANETTE RANKIN:POLITICAL PIONEER, "Inspiring Work of Nonfiction"), and Rahul Bhushan (TAJ MAJAL, "Excellence in Illustration ", written by two of my UCLA Extension teachers, Caroline Arnold and Madeleine Comora ). Brian Selznick (THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET) was also honored for "Groundbreaking Work of Fiction", however he unfortunately was unable to attend this morning.

Here's Lisa Yee's blogging on the event, pictures and all.

This has been a great year for Stephanie. Earlier this year, her YOUR OWN SYLVIA won a 2008 Michael L. Printz Honor Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. On June 30th , Claudia and I celebrated with Stephanie at the Michael L. Printz Program and Reception. It was a wonderful night with speeches from winner, Geraldine McCaughrean for her novel The White Darkness and honor book authors Judith Clarke for One Whole and Perfect Day; Stephanie Hemphill for Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath; A.M. Jenkins for Repossessed; and Elizabeth Knox for The Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet. You can hear all of the winners' speeches by clicking on this link.

Claudia and I were lucky enough to get to the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2008 Annual Conference early that night and sat in on The 5th Annual ALSC POETRY BLAST featuring:
Joan Bransfield Graham: Splish Splash; Flicker Flash
Jane Medina: My Name is Jorge; The Dream on Blanca’s Wall
Charles R. Smith, Jr.: Twelve Rounds to Glory
Linda Sue Park: Tap Dancing on the Roof
Monica Gunning: America, My New Home; Not a Copper Penny in Me House
Francisco X. Alarcón: Animal Poems of the Iguazú / Animalario del Iguazú; Poems to Dream Together / Poemas para soñar juntos; From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche
Ann Whitford Paul: Word Builder; All by Herself
Ruth Forman: Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon
Margarita Engle: The Poet Slave of Cuba; The Surrender Tree
Julie Larios: Yellow Elephant; Imaginary Menagerie
Nikki Grimes: Oh, Brother!; When Gorilla Goes Walking; Tai Chi Morning; First Kiss
J. Patrick Lewis: The World’s Greatest: Poems; The Brothers’ War: Civil War Voices in Verse
Marilyn Singer: Shoe Bop!; First Food Fight This Fall

Congrats Steph! You deserve it!


  1. I looooooooooooove poetry! What an amazing event you were able to attend! Too cool!

  2. It is a gift to hear these great writers speak about their inspiratations and their craft.

  3. Oh, I am green! That all sounds so inspiring. Congrats to Stephanie!

  4. Congratulations to Stephanie! And fun for you too!

  5. wow! congrats and what a great event!



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