The Details of Today’s Adventures! With More Dancing!

I have finally calmed down and warmed up enough to blog. Sort of.

Where to start?

I know.

Congratulations to all of the winners and honor book winners announced today at ALA MidWinter!!! (I am looking for one page to link to that lists all of the winners. Can anyone help with that?)

I am especially happy for my old SCBWI friends who earned well-deserved awards: Hope Anita Smith won a Coretta Scott King Honor for Keeping the Night Watch and Jen Bryant, author of the Caldecott Honor book, A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. YAY!!!

Fellow-NBA nominees Kathi Appelt won a Newbery Honor for The Underneath and E. Lockhart won a Printz Honor for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. My sometimes-brother M.T. Anderson also won a Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. If there was an award for the longest title, I think he’d win that, too. And Jackie Woodson earned another Newbery Honor, this time for After Tupac and D Foster!

Last but not least, I am totally stoked that Neil Gaiman won the Newbery for The Graveyard Book! I have long been a fan of his writing (actually, I am one of those crazy, drooling gaimainites) and it is wonderful to see his work honored by librarians as well as fans.

And, um, yeah. I won an award too.

::cheeks blush, eyes puddle up::

The good and gracious members of the Edwards Committee have bestowed the breathtakingly stupendous Margaret A. Edwards Award, which “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting achievement,” on me.

::wipes eyes, takes deep breath, composes self::

The beginning of the official announcement reads thusly: “Laurie Halse Anderson is the winner of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens. Iconic and classic in her storytelling and character development, Anderson has created for teens a body of work that continues to be widely read and cherished by a diverse audience.”

There’s more, but it stretches the bounds of Blatant Self Promotion to post it all. Read it on the YALSA site.

And make sure you check out the previous Edwards winners.

Suffice it to say, I am honored and humbled to have my work put in the class with writers whom I admire so much. And I am particularly proud that the committee singled out both Catalyst and Fever 1793, and that they get to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Speak, instead of in its shadow.

I actually found out about the Edwards earlier this weekend and, once again, had to walk around with two hands clapped over my mouth. (This made eating difficult and drinking coffee rather perilous.) I was extremely certain that Chains would not make anymore awards lists (it’s had its share, don’t you think?) and I know the anguish of sitting around watching the phone not ring, so early this morning, I packed up my bag and headed for the gym. Had a wonderful, if slow, 6-mile run onthe treadmill, then I treated myself to the ultimate reward: a two-hour massage. That’s right. TWO hours.


I came home, all relaxed and squishy, and VERY hungry. Stoked the woodstove, let the dog out, brought the dog in, locked the door, heated up a bowl of beef soup made from scratch, and reached for the book I am reading. I was one page into the book, three spoonfuls into the soup, when someone knocked on the front door. The Creature With Fangs went crazy. It was just the nice flower deliveryman, bringing me a gorgeous bouquet from Uncle Penguin. I stepped out into the vestibule to get the flowers and closed the door behind me, so the dog wouldn’t eat the nice deliveryman. As his truck drove away, I reached for the door handle.

It did not open. It had locked behind me.

I tried all of our doors. All locked. This is a very secure house, did you know that? It felt like 7 degrees outside, but it was sunny so the vestibule wasn’t quite that cold. BH had been down in Syracuse, but I knew he would be home soon, so it wasn’t worth hiking down to the farm to use their phone.

What does one do in that situation, locked out of one’s house on a winter’s day, hungry, tired, with no book to read or phone to call?

If you’ve just been awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award, you listen to the music in your head and dance to keep warm. So I did. A little more than an hour later, BH came home, and all was well.

I am told that the cool color to wear to the Edwards shindig is orange. Must! Find! Orange! Shoes!

On your marks, get set…

The Big Day is almost here: time for our race. Thanks to your generous donations, BH and I have raised $5,652 for cancer research. We are sort of in shape, but in no danger of being plucked from the crowd and offered a spot on the Olympic team (whew!). We’ve had a lot of fun getting ready for tomorrow.

This is a good time to review the status of my New Year’s resolutions:

2008 Resolution Tracker
Week 24 – Miles Run: 12, YTD: 425
Week 24 – Days Written: 7, YTD: 166

I have stuck to my plan of writing every day (good thing, too, these deadlines are piling up faster and faster), but I’ve only averaged 17 miles a week, which is a little short of my New Year’s goal of 20 miles a week. Getting sick in February slowed me down, as did some foot and ankle problems in the last month. BH battled back from a hip injury with lots of physical therapy and much gritting of the teeth.

We are as ready as we can be to run 13.1 hilly miles.

Thanks for all the great comments about the contest announcement and garden tour. Yesterday I harvested the first batch of broccoli and basil.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic We ate this minutes after it was picked.

In which the author blushes and stammers


This is one of those “out of body” things. One of those weird turns on the path of life that you don’t see coming, and it’s really fun, but at the same time you keep doubting it’s real, then you feel dumb for doubting, because, after all, they are very smart people, and yes, they did choose you – ME! – and so you had better just stop being silly and bask in it all.

I’m not sure how to phrase this, so I’ll quote from the press release: “…the ALAN Award Committee has voted to honor Laurie Halse Anderson with the 2008 ALAN Award.”

If you don’t know what ALAN is, hang on a sec and I’ll explain. If you do know, then you understand why this feels glorious and overwhelming and has rocked me to the core. It’s a darn good thing they made the announcement five months before I accept the award and give a speech, because it’s going to take me all that time to figure out how to convey my gratitude properly.

You can read more about it here.

Still wondering why I am so befuddled? They’ve given this award to many of my heroes: Teri Lesesne, Jerry Spinelli, Jacqueline Woodson, Patty Campbell, S.E. Hinton, Mildred Taylor, Walter Dean Myers, Chris Crutcher, Don Gallo, Gary Paulsen, Richard Peck, Cynthia Voigt, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L’Engle, and The Big Guy: Robert Cormier. Now do you see why this is overwhelming?

::pauses for a brief attack of the vapors::
::nearly swoons::
::rouses self with great difficulty::

“But, Laurie, what is ALAN?” you ask.

ALAN is where all the best English teachers hang out. The acronym stands for The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents. In a nutshell, ALAN is the collection of brilliant English teachers, along with the college professors who taught them, and the authors and editors who are in awe of the work they do. If you teach English, literature, or reading to teens, I beg of you, please join. (Very inexpensive!) You’ll get a kick-butt journal with terrific reviews and articles about real-world classroom challenges, and you will connect with some incredible peers.

If all the world is a high school, then ALAN is the cool kids’ table for English teachers; the nice ones who are always scootching down to make room for new people. Especially the new ones who still feel fourteen and gawky.

Thank you very, very much, my kindred spirits.

Beautiful and Unexpected Things

It is Friday, so I will list Five Beautiful and Unexpected Things. As an added bonus, two come with pictures.

1. Meredith the Office Mouse spent part of yesterday weeding through a mountain of books so that BH can build some bookshelves. By the end of the day, she made an amazing discovery. She found the floor!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I had forgotten it was there.

2. Heidi Sheffield’s English classes at Oswego High School sent me flowers.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I did a drop-in surprise visit on them a couple of weeks ago. Thank you, everyone! (Notice the stacks and stacks of books in the background.)

3. The final, final, final CHAINS galleys should be arriving any minute now.

4. My research plans for the summer are suddenly falling into place, after much anxiety.

5. If you want to read about the BEA conference from a booksellers POV, Bookavore is blogging from LA a couple times a day.

My coffee cup runneth over

I live a charmed life. There is no doubt.

In the last 48 hours, friends of mine in the publishing world, in education, fellow writers, relatives, high school buddies, readers, and students getting by on ramen noodles have contributed a total of $1,100 to our race effort!!! That means we are already more than 20% of the way to our goal of $5,000!

I am stunned and humbled.

I got a little teary-eyed yesterday as I read through emails from people who have lost dearly loved parents, siblings, and children to cancer. It feels like everyone is touched by this and reminded me again why our effort is important.

Thank you all very, very much. If you haven’t donated yet, please go to the Laurie Halse Anderson Team Website and contribute. If you want to support the guy-side of this effort, go to my husband’s site and give money there. The totally awesome Nancy Werlin donated to Scot, so if you give on his side of the ledger, you’ll be in extremely good company.

If you can’t afford to donate (I totally understand – been there and have the tee-shirt), please help out by blogging about our cause and bugging your friends who have so much money they can afford to blow three dollars on a cup of coffee. You know who I’m talking about.

(For the record, we ran at the gym yesterday. BH ran 5 miles. I only ran 3 because my knee was a little squeaky.)

Along with the fundraising email, yesterday marked the official beginning to The Busy Season. This Spring I am traveling to Chattanooga, TN (they’re reading SPEAK for One City/One Book), Springfield, IL (Illinois Reading Council), Nashua, NH (SCBWI New England), and San Jose, CA for writing workshops.

In addition, I have a new picture book coming out in June that has such a gorgeous cover I can’t wait any longer to show you.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What do you think? (I’ll be giving more info about the content of the book and some sneak pictures of the inside soon.) I’ve been working on this project for a veeeeeeeeery long time. It’s hard to believe it’s actually coming out.

Dang!! I was jumping up and down so hard I spilled the coffee again.

I have miles to go before I sleep tonight: chapters to revise, a gazillion emails, and new material I have to generate for the website. Thanks again for a great kick-off to the race in June. Please wish me luck with the Revision Race of February.

edited to add Today is Langston Hughes’ birthday, one of my favorite poets and guiding lights.

Lake Placid Half-Marathon countdown: 136 days