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July 2017
  Sheila Turnage at Highlights
  I shared fiction and poetry workshop sessions with Sheila Turnage at Highlights for their On the Bookshelf summer institute.
  Elizabeth Harding
  Agent and friend, Elizabeth Harding, joined me for my big night at the Newbery / Caldecott / Wilder Banquet!
  Dr. Claudette McLinn
Librarian and independent bookseller, Dr. Claudette McLinn and I go way back! She hosted a Danitra Brown book party for me, back in the day. So grateful to have her share this moment with me.
  Laura Ingalls Wilder Award ceremony
All dressed up with somewhere to go! The beginning of a memorable night.
  Nikki Grimes, Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
  Nikki Grimes Wilder Award speech
  Nikki Grimes Wilder Medalist
  Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
  Cindy Loh
  My ladies in waiting include Bloomsbury publisher, Cindy Loh! She took such good care of me at ALA, as did the rest of the staff.
  Wilder Committee members
I join four of the five Wilder committee members for a group shot. The fifth was in South Africa, and could not be present.
  Kendall and Debra
It meant everything to me to have my foster brother, Kendall, and my oldest friend, Debra, there by my side for the Wilder weekend! They both figure prominently in my journey.
  Katherine Paterson
My favorite shot of the night: with good friend, Katherine Paterson who wouldn't leave Chicago without seeing me accept my Wilder honor! I so love this woman.
  book signing
Book signings are always fun, especially when you get to see cuties like this young reader!
  Sean Qualls
Loved catching up with Sean Qualls on the convention floor. He is one of the gifted illustrators featured in One Last Word.
  The Bloomsbury Tea
The Bloomsbury Tea kicked things off nicely at the convention. I was happy for a chance to introduce One Last Word to a few librarians who weren't yet familiar with it.
  Renee Watson and Christine Vortia
Author Renee Watson and I were happy to meet the lovely librarian, Christine Vortia, at the Bloomsbury Tea.
  Ed Spicer
Of course, Ed Spicer was at ALA! It always makes me happy to see Ed.
  Javaka Steptoe
So wonderful to share this monumental evening with Javaka Steptoe, winner of the Caldecott Medal. We've both come a long way since we did Pocketful of Poems together, some 15-16 years ago!
  The Wilder Dinner
The private Wilder dinner was full of special, emotional moments.​
  The Wilder Dinner
The Wilder Dinner! This one includes my foster brother, Kendall Buchanan, plus four of my publishers: Penguin, Scholastic, Boyds Mills, and Bloomsbury.
  architectural boat tour of Chicago
A view of Chicago from the water.
  Architectural boat tour
After the Wilder, there was time to take an architectural boat tour of Chicago with my surrogate niece Natalya and her fiancĂ© Shawn.  Great fun!
  Sarah Aronson
The next afternoon, it was off to the Art Institute for an extensive exhibit of Gaugin! Author Sarah Aronson joined me.
  Paul Gaugin
  Hamilton!
My last night in Chicago ended in the best possible way: seeing Hamilton!

Hello Friends,

June, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: One Last Word was selected as a Boston Globe-Horn Book honor book; OLW went into its third printing; Garvey's Choice made the ALSC Summer Reading List; at On the Bookshelf: Reading with and Writing for Children, at the Highlights Foundation, I got to share sessions with Newbery Medalist, Sheila Turnage. Great stuff, huh? But guess what? There's more!

The single event that colored the month of June for me was the Newbery / Caldecott / Wilder Banquet, where I received the coveted Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for "lasting and substantial contributions to children's Books!" What an extraordinary honor! With it, I join the ranks of such literary luminaries as Maurice Sendak, Katherine Paterson (a true friend, she came to cheer me on!) Virginia Hamilton, and Dr. Seuss. It seems only fitting that my Wilder Weekend at ALA should dominate this month's newsletter. The weekend included The Bloomsbury Tea, multiple book signings, dinner with the Wilder Selection Committee, a boat tour of Chicago's architecture, a night out to see Hamilton, a visit to the Art Institute, and, of course, the Newbery  / Caldecott / Wilder Banquet, itself.

Enjoy!

Until next time,
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Nikki Grimes

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