And then came the daughters. Once again, I was too busy and/or tired to do much pleasure reading. Sure I plowed thru plenty of parenting books and read aloud to the girls at every opportunity, but the Newbery Award was years away from their interest level and so, of course, my own. Imagine my delight when my mom came to visit when d#2 was just 4 months old, and brought me (well, us) a gift. It was Number the Stars, the 1990 Newbery winner and she wrote in the book:
To Emily and Ellen and your mom –
Your first Newbery Award Winner – with the hope you’ll develop a love of books that will last forever!
Love! Granny Squire
Well, I think it worked. Evidently I was sufficiently delighted that Mom sent me (well, us) the Newbery winner every year. And no matter how busy and/or tired I was, I always made time to read it. After Mom died, I continued the tradition, a treat for myself and always with a memory of her.
There’s one final piece to my Newbery story that stems from yet another phase of my life, working at Blue Willow. When the 2010 winner, When You Reach Me, was announced, the bookstore just happened to have a copy signed by the author, Rebecca Stead. Being ever considerate of our customers (not), I nabbed it for myself. After spending a few years around Blue Willow and author events, I’ve gotten somewhat jaded about meeting authors and getting their signatures. But a signed Newbery? I was excited. A few months later, we hosted an event for Kate DiCamillo and I realized I could ask her to sign my copy of The Tale of Despereaux. This past October, Richard Peck signed my copy of A Year Down Yonder. On Sunday, Blue Willow is supplying books for an event with Christopher Paul Curtis so I’m hoping that I will soon have a signed copy of Bud, Not Buddy. Ahhh, happiness.
Next Monday there will be another Newbery Medal Winner. And I can’t wait to read it!