Home Book Award SLJ staff share their annual ALA experience

SLJ staff share their annual ALA experience

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Overall, “joy and celebration” prevailed at the event, the first in-person ALA conference since 2020.

SLJManaging Editor Shelley Diaz and Associate Editor Florence Simmons attended the ALA Annual in Washington, DC, and we asked them to share their thoughts on the first in-person ALA conference since January 2020.

Diaz describes an overall feeling of “joy and celebration” at the event, and Simmons noted that it brought a cozy feeling like “putting on that comfy old sweater for the first time this season,” as well as the excitement.

“The air around the entire convention was one of gratitude, excitement and passion,” says Simmons. “Everyone was so happy to see each other face to face, a feeling that was expressed over and over again.”

It was a moving few days.

“There were a lot of tears at all the events – more than usual – especially at Coretta Scott King’s breakfast, because of [illustrator] The death of Floyd Cooper,” Diaz says. “His wife and sons were there to accept his award.”

Both Simmons and Diaz noted that the 2022 winners talked about the 2020 and 2021 medalists who couldn’t be there to receive their prizes.

“In a special moment that remains etched in my memory, Jason Chin, in his Caldecott speech, had the audience applauding for the winners of the past two years, Michaela Goade (We are water protectors) and Kadir Nelson (The undefeated) because, he said, they didn’t get a round of applause in their room, so they should get it now,” says Simmons. “All of the speeches, which touched on more ominous topics like book bans, focused on gratitude for the work of librarians. did and do, brought tears to my eyes.

And the future looks bright for upcoming titles as well.

“There are wonderful and varied books coming out this fall and spring,” Simmons says. “I can’t wait to see them on the library shelves.”

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