Friday, December 6, 2019

NCTE 2019

Though the panel (on empathy) I pitched for the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention was not accepted, I got to go anyway.

Because Thirty Minutes Over Oregon was named a 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor Book at NCTE 2018, its publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, kindly invited me to partake in the celebratory festivities of 11/23/19. 

This included, in rapid succession:

  • 11 am-12 pm book signing 
  • 12-2:30 pm luncheon for the Orbis Pictus (nonfiction) and Charlotte Huck (fiction) winners and honorees
  • 2:45-5 pm panel of Orbis Pictus Honor Book authors/illustrators
  • 7-10 pm dinner for all honorees, representatives from their publishers, and Orbis Pictus committee members

At 9:10 am, Melissa Iwai, the book's illustrator, emailed to ask me if I was already at the convention. NCTE was held in Baltimore, 45 minutes from where I live. I said I'd arrive in time for the luncheon (meaning I'd leave around 10:45 am), and she said "What about the signing at 11?"

On my schedule, my signing was at 4 pm. As you see above, my panel would also be in medias res at 4 HMH moved my signing to 11 am. 

But I did not get that update.

And so it was that I fast-forwarded my morning, arriving at the convention center around the time I originally planned to leave. HMH was covering my travel expenses, so I reasoned that would include any possible moving violation. Kidding. Children's authors never exceed the speed limit.

The award luncheon was lovely. Honorees simply walked across the stage and received our certificate, like a graduation. It was a privilege to listen to the speeches of the three winners, Sandra Neil Wallace and illustrator Bryan Collier for Between the Lines (Orbis Pictus) and Jonathan Auxier for Sweep (Charlotte Huck). 

I like panels under almost any circumstance, so though ours was sparsely attended, I had fun. 

Dinner was aptly held at a restaurant called Pen & Quill. Despite that name and the occupation of most of our party, no writing occurred during the meal. 

I had to duck out earlier than most to drive back in heavy rain to pick up my teenager from a post-musical-performance party.

Congrats again to the winners and other nominees and thanks again to the Orbis Pictus committee (Mary Ann Cappiello, Denise Davila, Seemi Aziz, Amina Chaudhri, Daryl Grabarek, Jennifer Graff, Julie Waugh, Suzanne Costner, and Sanjuana Rodriguez. Special thanks to my TMOO editor Jennifer Greene, who was at the luncheon and dinner. It was only the second time I'd spent time with her in person (first time was February 2016!). If you'd told us then the circumstance of our next meeting...

me, Jennifer Greene, Melissa Iwai;
first photo of Team TMOO!

No comments: