Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Geisel Medalists Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant

I hope you enjoyed reading about the life-changing phone calls Kwame AlexanderJacqueline Woodson, Cece BellDan SantatJon KlassenYuyi MoralesMariko Tamaki,  Jillian TamakiLauren Castillo, and Melissa Sweet  received on February 2. This behind-the-scenes information makes my booktalks and presentations more interesting and unique. 

Let's shift our attention to Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant, the recipients of the 2015 Geisel Medal for You Are (Not) Small.

Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Geisel committee was clapping for you? 

Anna Kang: When our home phone rang a few minutes before the Superbowl was about to start, I ignored it because I assumed it was a sales call. Then when my cell phone rang a few seconds later, twice in a row, I thought it might actually be an emergency and picked up. It took me a full minute or so to process what Kevin Delecki (Chair of the Geisel Award Committee) was saying to me. I said, "Can you repeat that??...We WON??" I was truly stunned and thrilled and overwhelmed all at once. I screamed a few times, cried a little, thanked the Committee members repeatedly, then screamed some more. I said, "This is SO MUCH BETTER than the Superbowl!"

Chris Weyant: I missed THE CALL completely! When the committee called, I was out painting theater sets for my daughter's school musical. My wife, Anna (who's also the author of "You Are (Not) Small"), phoned me and said she had some really good news but that she'd tell me in person when I returned. My mind raced through a thousand possibilities of what that good news might be, never even thinking it could be theGeisel. When I walked through the door, I was greeted by Anna and my daughters joyfully screaming that we won. Covered in paint, there I stood, completely stunned. It was perfect.

Illustration Credit: Christopher Weyant 

What does the Geisel Medal mean to you?

Anna: It is a tremendous, tremendous honor. To be awarded a medal named after the greatest, most beloved children's book author is truly humbling. The idea that children might learn to read and, more importantly, learn to love reading because of our book is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

Chris: Like all of us, I grew up reading Dr. Seuss. As a kid, I went over every line, every stroke of his brush. I was captivated by the creatures and the worlds he created.  When you're a child, those first books in our lives are so important. As an illustrator, knowing that something I created might be meaningful to a new reader is a profound thought. I couldn't be more honored or thrilled to receive the Geisel Award

Illustration Credit: Christopher Weyant 

Please complete this sentence starter: 

Reading is...

Anna: It is essential to life.

Chris: open door to a world of imagination.

Borrow You Are (Not) Small from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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