Happy National Library Week! I’m still floating from last week’s Maine Library Association’s 27th Annual Reading Round-Up of Children’s and Young Adult Literature. No better place to be than in a fine flock of kidlit advocates. Winning a Lupine Award with Eva Murray for our book Island Birthday is a spectacular honor.  Inspired by Maine artist, Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius, the Lupine is presented to a living author or illustrator who is a resident of Maine, or who has created a work whose focus is on Maine, shown through the characteristics, plot, or setting. In our case, both illustrator and author are Maine island residents, and the story is set on a Maine island, as real as it gets.


Author Gary Schmidt gave a compelling keynote address on the challenges of writing for young readers in a complex world. He asked us to consider, “What if everything matters? What if everything is a sacrament?” We have to show up, and be in this together.


I attended an author panel, titled Diversity is Reality, with authors Susan Ross, Dana Allison Levy, and Padma Venkatraman. Padma made a great point: let’s not assume what children need to read or want to read, enough with stereotypes.


Next I caught Camden Library’s whirlwind, Amy Hand, showcasing her favorite books for promoting acceptance. She’s not afraid to use humor!


Bravo to Cathryn Falwell, recipient of the Katahdin Award for her lifetime achievement. Eva and I proudly stand between Cathryn and the Lupine Honor winner, Matt Tavares for Growing Up Pedro. So very Maine that we each received hand-made plates, functional and beautiful.


I went straight from Augusta to the newly rebuilt Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, where my former Maine College of Art student, Kiah Gardner, is rocking the children’s room. Looks like a fun rumpus for reading!


Nearby Ocean House Gallery is hosting an exhibit of children’s book illustration, It’s All About the Books! Celebrating Cape Author Fest.  Check out this small but mighty gallery run by Graham Wood. with work by Scott Nash, Andres Vera Martinez, Dylan Metrano, and Lisa Jahn-Clough.


Saturday’s Cape Author Fest was packed, thanks to Travis Nadeau and a league of intrepid volunteers, like these three.


So many book creators in one place, I think I melted.


Such a pleasure to see familiar faces, like author Mary Atkinson and Tamra Wright.


Look, it’s my neighbor, Annie O’Brien, here with her colorful books.


Always honored to be in the company of esteemed colleague and fellow islander, Scott Nash!


He’ll be at Longfellow Books tomorrow night with his latest, Shrunken Treasures. I’ll see you there, 7 PM sharp.


Thank you, librarians and families, for putting books in the hands of kids. Stories bring us together in so many ways. Thank you, Lupine Committee, for these plates, ever so honored and humbled to receive them.



One Comment

  1. Congratulations Jamie! Looks like it never gets old, receiving accolades for your windrous work. Gunnel and I went to “My name is Asher Lev” together last night. We took the time to stop by your posters to savor and enjoy on our way out. Thanks for your many gifts in our lives. XO

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