I’m heading up to DC this week for three reasons: to see the cherry blossoms a week ahead of their peak bloom time; to have dinner with my son; and to be part of the Walter Awards, along with other book fun.
First stop, a school visit to MacFarland Middle School to talk about Merci Suarez Changes Gears with the help of one of my very favorite organizations, An Open Book Foundation. An Open Book Foundation works with under-resourced schools in the DC-area to provide them with author and illustrator visits they normally wouldn’t be able to access. In addition to an author visit, every student receives a signed copy of their visiting artist’s book. You can support An Open Book by volunteering or with a direct donation here.
On Friday, I have the huge honor of being part of the Walter Awards being held at the Library of Congress. The Walter Award celebrates books by diverse authors and makes sure that 2,000 copies of the winning titles are made available to schools. This year’s winners are Elizabeth Acevedo for her glorious novel-in-verse, The Poet X (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) and Jewell Parker Rhodes for her powerful and timely Ghost Boys (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette).
Our emcee for the event is Linda Sue Park, herself a New York Times bestselling author and Newbery medalist. Honored guest Christopher Myers, son of the late Walter Dean Myers, will also speak.
I’ll be on hand to lead a conversation with the honorees in each category, and they are some of the most exciting writers moving up the ranks. They are: Tiffany Jackson, author of Monday’s Not Coming (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins); Emily X. R. Pan, author of The Astonishing Color of After (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers/Hachette); David Bowles, author of They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems (Cinco Puntos Press), and Veera Hiranandani, author of The Night Diary (Kokila/Penguin Random House)
The trip wouldn’t be complete without steak and frites with my son at our favorite French restaurant. And, at some point I’ll be leaving some signed copies of Merci Suarez Changes Gears at Politics & Prose and Barston’s Child’s Play before I head back, too.
Busy, but looking forward to seeing some of you along the way!