Wednesday, November 21, 2018

NCTE 2018 and an Orbis Pictus Honor 2019

The 2018 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention (held in Houston) featured many of the same beats as past NCTEs I have attended (only one of which I've documented here): it hosted a panel I pitched, I hung out with author and educator friends I see far too infrequently, I signed books, I made school visit inroads, I learned a thing or two.

But the event also surprised me with something new.

One of my books received an award.


The Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children was first given out in 1989. My first Orbis Pictus award was given out 30 years later (not to imply I expect there will be more).

Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story was one of the four titles named a 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor Book.


Lisa DiSarro, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Director of School and Library Marketing, kindly accompanied me to the 11/17/18 luncheon where the two 2018 Orbis Pictus winners spoke and the new class was announced. HMH had invited me to attend the luncheon before they knew that Thirty Minutes Over Oregon would be among the honored there. They did find out a day beforehand, but chose not to tell me—which I so appreciated. It was so memorable to be surprised by the announcement made to the room of 35+ tables of 10 people apiece, including many author friends (some of whom were similarly honored, though many of the honorees were not there).


Lisa was at a table next to me and surreptitiously took photos of my reaction.


My panel was called "The Dirty Truth About Nonfiction." My co-stars were Don Tate, John Hendrix (whom I'd not met before), and Leah Henderson. (All of them are articulate and impressive, and all also have great radio voices. I do not.)

We were expertly moderated by Dylan Teut, who stepped in at the 11th hour when the moderator I'd originally lined up was no longer able to attend NCTE. I was thrilled at the turnout...if not quite standing-room-only, close enough that some people sat on the floor. (Wait, what? Sitting-room-only?)


At my signing later that day, HMH had already blinged out the book with the official Orbis Pictus sticker and a starbust.


Last year, I did a panel with Audrey Vernick, but this year saw her only in passing. In that passing, in a symbolic passing of the torch (but not really), I posed for a photo with her and Don (who, as you'll recall, was on my panel this year).


The other highlight of NCTE for me was an activity I did not participate in (or even witness). At 6:15 am on Saturday morning, a group of authors and educators met for a game of basketball. I would've joined them but I was picked last enough in high school.

The ones I can name (L-R): 
Laurie Halse Anderson, Loren Long (mostly obscured), 
Chad Everett, Phil Bildner, ?, Cornelius Minor,
Colby Sharp, Travis Jonker, Sara Ahmed, ?
Kwame Alexander, ?, Matt de la Peña

Thank you again to HMH and NCTE for a humbling experience. 

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