It’s Awards Season: And the Winner Is…

The Golden Globe Awards program had it’s best ratings in years. Just a few days later the nominees for the Oscars were all the buzz. I enjoy these annual specials, in part because they’re some of the few things on television that aren’t reruns.oscar

But red carpets and designer gowns can’t hold a candle to the way my adrenaline pumps at the annual ALA awards for children’s literature. If you are anywhere near Philadelphia on January 24-28 you’ll find yourself at literacy-central, the heart of the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference. (link here)

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend one of those Monday mornings when ALA’s Youth Media Awards are announced.  In recent years, though, live streaming and social media have allowed me to savor the tension and thrill that fill the audience at this event and witness the moment when names are called. Here’s the official statement about these awards:

“Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.”

Apart from the approaching date of these announcements, I’ve been thinking about these awards for other very personal reasons. My last post announced that ODIN’S PROMISE will be available for sale on April 15. The final preparations for that, including distribution of Advanced Readers Copies, has me anticipating reader reactions with more than a bit of anxiety.

I trust my support group (writing critique sisters, editor, etc.) to know it isn’t “bad” writing. The problem is, how good is it?eager reader Will readers love it? Especially young readers? Will others out there find in Mari’s story the kind of soulmate connection that makes my book theirs?

That’s not to say I expect it to be considered for the 2014 awards season. But no award on this planet  would give me the satisfaction of knowing my words had found a home in even a single reader’s heart. The incredibly talented novel and picture book author Kelly Bingham assures me that receiving a student’s book report or personal letter  for the first time is a thrill beyond description, and I don’t doubt that’s true. Those are the circumstances in which my hands would shake at the opening of an envelope.

Just to show that this is my honest opinion about awards, (and not a shuffling attempt at future sour grapes), several weeks ago I posted these thoughts about “favorites” lists and end-of-year awards on my picture book blog, here. 

About the release of my book, I’m coming to the conclusion that the anxiety I’m feeling is a mix of pure excitement with a sizable dash of panic. The panic stems from the thought that the moment is rapidly approaching for me to “let go” of this story. It’s been a work-in-progress in one way or another for almost half of my adult life, ever since I first visited Norway. Within a very few weeks it will have to sink or swim on its own merits. No more revisions. No hand-holding. 

When the time comes my knees may be wobbling but Mari and Odin will have to step out into the world on their own. Knowing they are ready to do that is my own red carpet moment.

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