Rebecca Stead and the other ALA medal winners are probably suffering right now. Big day comin’ up in a couple of months, and there’s a little matter of a The Speech.

In 1970, William Steig felt this way about giving his Caldecott acceptance speech (For Sylvester and the Magic Pebble): “I’ve been depressed ever since January & will not realize happiness again until after June 30th when my trial is over.” (The full text of his letter is at the Hornbook Archives site.)

And in yet another letter to his editor, Paul Heins …
“I want to make more books, books good enough to win prizes, & I’m hoping that my inability to make speeches will not hamper my progress.”

I’ve read through most of the Newbery and Caldecott acceptance speeches. Many of the speakers wisely laid it on thick when it came to praising librarians. One winner who apparently never got the memo was Monica Shannon (1935, Dobry). She instead delivered a very long riff on nature that never once mentioned librarians, the importance of children’s books, or John Newbery.

She’s also the winner who nearly went to the banquet with her dress on backwards. Fortunately, the person who came to her hotel room to escort her to the banquet noticed it in time.

Good luck to all!