I was in Denver last month to attend the annual conference of the Colorado Council International Reading Association and pick up the Colorado Children’s Book Award won by Shark Vs. Train. The award itself turned out to be this magnificent, hefty thing, which I opted to have shipped to me instead of trying to slip into my carry-on bag for the flight home.
I wish I’d thought to snap a photo of the award before the CCIRA folks kindly packed it away, but here’s how the pewter versions of Train and Shark look now that they’ve arrived in their natural habitat.
By the way, here’s what I said at the luncheon where I received the award:
The thing in life that we’re going to be our best at may be something we haven’t started doing yet. That’s something I realized for myself about 15 years ago — a few years before I started writing books for children — and it’s something that’s almost entirely undermined by the ineptitude displayed by Shark and Train as they try their hands… fins… driving rods at playing piano, traveling through outer space, and attempting to jump a row of parked vehicles while riding motorcycles. All the same, I think it’s true — for me, and for you, and for the young people whose lives you help shape. When you go back to your libraries and classrooms, please make sure they understand that creating picture books was, at one point, something I hadn’t started doing yet, and the same goes for illustrator Tom Lichtenheld. But we didn’t let that stop us, and now I think we’re each getting pretty good at it. Having our book honored with the Colorado Children’s Book Award will only encourage us to keep at it, so we hope that’s what the children of Colorado had in mind. We thank them, and we thank you.