“Go home” were the welcome words of one of my companions after tiring of watching me try desperately to stay awake through dinner Saturday. And so, passing on Campagne‘s clearly scrumptious desserts, I did. Back at the Grand Hyatt Seattle, I groggily pushed the switch that electronically lowered the shades (can I tell you that is one very cool hotel?) and was out like a light.
Jet-lag aside I had a fabulous time in Seattle attending Midwinter ALA. Years ago I attended one of my first NCTE conventions there and discovered that it is one of the best cities around for conventions. The weather (compared to NYC) made walking pleasant, the eating is wonderful/fantastic/extraordinary, and the downtown is just a very cool place to be at any hour.
My congratulations to all the ALA media award winners and to the committees that chose them. I was so happy that I had read and very much enjoyed Newbery winner, The Higher Power of Lucky (and in fact have to congratulate the long-forgotten person who urged me to get the ARC last summer at ALA as she had pegged it as Newbery caliber way back then) and so had a copy to show my students upon my return. Having also read Rules, Hattie Big Sky, and Penny from Heaven, I can say that all three well deserve the honor. All four are books that are very accessible to children and will be read, I’m hopeful, year after year. I must admit I was most excited when the Sibert winners were announced — all are very cool books, but I was especially enamoured with Team Moon and absolutely thrilled that it won.
Since our flight on Monday didn’t leave till almost midnight (seemed like a good idea when we booked and a horrible one while waiting for it at the airport), Roxanne and I had lots of time to play in Seattle and we did! After the press conference a bunch of us got crepes from a place outside the convention center (didn’t I tell you the eating is amazing?) and then found a corner to chat about all that was going on. After some made final circuits of the exhibits we headed to the one and only Pike Place Market and then on the Pan Africa, a restaurant I had found online and was eager to try. It was terrific — while the West African groundnut dish wasn’t quite what I’d have gotten in Sierra Leone, it was still very tasty as were the other dishes as well.
After gelato nearby, Roxanne and I ambled over to Pioneer Square where we followed a guy wearing one into the Utilikilts store. Anyone who knows her will not be surprised to learn she bought one and wore it for the rest of the day. After a quick wander through the inviting Elliot Bay Bookstore we went on BILL SPEIDEL’S UNDERGROUND TOUR . I had done this years ago and I recall it a bit differently (say a more obvious street and a more teasing ghost situation), but it was still fascinating and fun.
By this time my sleep deprivation was kicking in. We hiked to the Red Lion Inn to go to the ALSC/YALSA/AASL reception, then back to the Grand Hyatt for a bite before the airport. There we both conked out for an hour, got on the plane, slept until JFK. (My neighbor by the window noted that the fact that all three of us took Ambien may have presented a problem if we had indeed had to do our exit row duties.)
I picked up a ton of 2007 ARCs and shipped them home — and so my year on the Newbery begins!