Thursday, February 22, 2018

Caldecott Honor Artist Jason Chin

Click here to watch the 2018 ALA Youth Media Awards press conference.
I asked Matthew Cordell, Elisha Cooper, Gordon C. James, Thi Bui, and Jason Chin to answer two questions and to finish two sentence starters. 

Today is Jason Chin's turn to shine! Congratulations, Jason! 

Congratulations, Jason! Everyone loves hearing about THE CALL. What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Caldecott committee was clapping and cheering for you?

Jason Chin: When I answered, a lady introduced herself and said she was calling from ALA.  Then she said “congratulations, you’ve been awarded an honor.” This was followed by cheering, but she didn’t say “Caldecott" right away.  I didn’t want to be presumptuous and say, “a Caldecott Honor?” but I didn’t want to say something dumb like “for what?” either.  So there was a bit of awkward silence until someone in the background yelled “for the Caldecott!”  Which rendered me speechless again, and all I could manage was “I’m speechless,” and then a belated "thank you." It was very awkward on my part.

What does the Caldecott mean to you? 

Jason Chin: From an early age I have been aware of the Caldecott, because a Caldecott award winning artist lived in my town and visited my elementary school every year.  She was a local celebrity.  In our minds, the books with the Caldecott stickers were the best books, which meant we were connected to one of the best artists (of course, I thought she was THE best).  

Now I recognize that awards are subjective, and that there are no “best” books.  There are just excellent books, and I see the award as a mark of excellence, chosen by some of the most insightful and dedicated librarians in the country.  I think that’s what makes it the so meaningful to me now.  I am honored that such a group thinks my book is worthy of a Caldecott honor.  Each time I see that sliver sticker on my book jacket, my feelings from childhood rush back, and I am struck dumb again.

Please finish these sentence starters: 

Reading is my gateway to experiences beyond my own.

School libraries are my favorite places in the whole school!

Borrow Grand Canyon from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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