Seven Newbery Medal and Honor recipients star in a new video that was filmed during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle in January. Here’s a first look at “Random House Newbery Authors on What the Award Means to Them,” in which the seven address that topic and talk about their reactions to hearing the news of their awards, the craft of writing, and how they find their story ideas.
The participating authors are all published by Random House, though they did not necessarily win for Random House books: Jerry Spinelli, 1991 Medal winner for Maniac McGee (Little, Brown) and 1998 Honor recipient for Wringer (HarperCollins); Christopher Paul Curtis, 1996 Honor recipient for The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 (Delacorte), 2000 Medal winner for Bud, Not Buddy (Delacorte), and 2008 Honor recipient for Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic Press); Louis Sachar, 1999 Medal winner for Holes (FSG/Foster); Jennifer L. Holm, 2000 Honor recipient for Our Only May Amelia (HarperCollins), 2007 honor recipient for Penny from Heaven (Random), and 2011 Honor recipient for Turtle in Paradise (Random, 2011); Kirby Larson, 2007 Honor recipient for Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte); Rebecca Stead, 2010 Medal winner for When You Reach Me (Random/Lamb); and Clare Vanderpool, 2011 Medal winner for Moon Over Manifest (Delacorte).
The publisher brought these authors together at the Midwinter Meeting for an event to tie in with the announcement of the 2013 Newbery winners, says Dominique Cimina, director of publicity and corporate communications for Random House Children’s Books. “We wanted to give attendees a chance to meet these authors,” she says, “and the video was born out of the wish to capture the experience of having these Newbery authors gathered together – which doesn’t happen very often – and share it with others.”
The video, which was filmed by Christopher Ming Ryan of New York-based Wheelhouse Communications, includes close-up shots of the authors speaking alone and with each other, as well as footage of them interacting with convention attendees. On April 23, the video will be made available on Random House’s SchoolTube and YouTube channels. “We’re always looking for ways to connect authors with kids, parents, and educators,” Cimina says. “This video does just that, and we’re hoping it will help inspire kids to read, parents to build their children’s home libraries, and teachers to acquaint students with these authors and their books.”
In the video, Vanderpool recalls answering the phone to hear that Moon Over Manifest had won the Newbery: “I am not normally a person that is speechless, but I had no words.” And Spinelli reflects on his writing process: “I start asking questions, and when my story starts talking back to me, then I figure I’m on my way.”
Addressing what the award means to her, Holm expresses gratitude that a Newbery nod extends the life of a book: “I think what’s so amazing is that you know your book will probably stay in libraries for years, and your kids will hopefully be reading it years from now. It will be there still.” And Curtis touches on the sense of personal validation a Newbery brings: “When you get an award like that, I think it kind of gives you a moment to relax and say, ‘OK, I’m doing OK. I should keep doing this.’ ”