The monologues were a hit with the fifth-graders, and after some urging from parents and colleagues, Schlitz sent “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies” to 11 publishers in the summer of 2000. One wrote back to inform her, she recalls, that “we have shredded your manuscript.”
Daily Archives: January 15, 2008
Park School of Baltimore librarian Laura Amy Schlitz jokingly reacts to photographers taking her photograph after telling a story to a group of second grade students, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, in Baltimore. Schlitz, who wrote, “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices From a Medieval Village,” is this year’s winner of the John Newbery Medal for best children’s book. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
During an all-school assembly called yesterday afternoon in Schlitz’s honor, the entire student body of nearly 900 students stood and cheered for at least 30 seconds. The applause went on and on.
Read the whole of this lovely article from Schlitz’s hometown paper here.
I knew about the Park School long before I knew about Laura Amy Schlitz because it is an old progressive private school like mine, a good friend worked there years ago, and another good friend’s wife graduated from there. So I loved thinking yesterday about how the school, especially all the children (not to mention the young adults) who had performed the monologues and dialogues in her book reacted to yesterday’s news. (She, by the way, was mostly speechless, sobbed, tried to speak — I mainly remember her saying “I have to make a speech?”— when we made THE CALL.) So how fun to run into several Candlewick folk while waiting for the train home who told me she was royally feted at the school.
After learning she had won, Schlitz still went to work at Baltimore’s Park School, where she has been a librarian for 17 years. “But I am wearing a plastic tiara,” Schlitz, 52, said Monday.
Set in an English village circa 1255, the book presents 22 character monologues that Schlitz originally wrote for her students, who study the Middle Ages in the fifth grade. She says it was a fascinating period because “there is something so once-upon-a-time with the beautiful tapestries and manuscripts. Yet life was so dangerous, so arduous and so grimy.”
As for winning, “this is kind of like having a flying carpet under your feet.” USATODAY.com
Childrens’ Book Awards Break With the Past – New York Times
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: January 15, 2008
The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature was awarded on Monday to “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village,” by Laura Amy Schlitz. The American Library Association announced the prize at its midwinter meeting in Philadelphia. The book, a series of monologues and dialogues about characters in the Middle Ages, is illustrated by Robert Byrd and published by Candlewick Press. Its format is different from the more traditional novels that have characterized past Newbery winners. The winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children was “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” by Brian Selznick. That book, published by Scholastic Press, is also different from the more traditional short picture books for young children that win the Caldecott medal. “Hugo Cabret” is a novel told in blocks of text interspersed with 284 pages of black-and-white drawings.