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To: My Fans!
From: Ann
Ann’s Trip to Toronto

October 2003

I'm not particularly fond of flying, and I usually prefer a quiet night at home over a big party. However, I happily made an exception a few weeks ago when I headed to Toronto, Canada to be a guest at a special awards banquet held at the annual convention of the American Library Association (ALA). My invitation came when my book, A Corner of the Universe, earned a Newbery Honor from the ALA earlier this year, and I'd been looking forward to this weekend for months. (I wrote about the Newbery Honor and the fun I had after the announcement in an earlier Ann Online, so be sure to check it out if you missed it - Newbery Honor.)

Because there aren't a lot of opportunities for authors, illustrators, editors and publishers to get together, I was hoping that the weekend events would give me a chance to catch up with people that I don't get to see very often. I got my wish when my publisher, Scholastic, invited me (and a few hundred other guests!) to an incredible party on the night before the awards ceremony. I'm still not sure how they did it, but somehow a huge indoor space was turned into a real, live carnival - just like the one that visits Hattie's small town in A Corner of the Universe!

Dozens of balloons surrounded the entrance, and the curtains were drawn back to reveal an honest-to-goodness, full-size Ferris wheel already in motion. For the next few hours, we all had a blast enjoying everything a carnival has to offer. There was a tattoo artist, a fortuneteller, a magician, and a ten-foot tall person walking around on stilts. Some of the braver guests even sang with the karaoke machine. (No, not me!) There were booths to visit, and prizes for anyone lucky enough to win at one of the games. The food was carnival-perfect, with cotton candy, ice cream, Italian ices and funnel cakes for everyone to enjoy. I saw old friends, made new acquaintances, and had an absolutely fabulous time.

The celebrating continued the following night at the ALA banquet, where there were over five hundred people in the audience. I enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with several members of the Newbery committee (those librarians who selected the Newbery winner and other Honor titles). At the end of the evening, I joined the other honorees in a receiving line where I had a chance to personally greet many of the conference attendees. I may have even met the librarian from your school!

I brought home some great pictures from my weekend to share with you (including a really good one of the Ferris wheel), so be sure to click on the photo link when you get a chance. I only wish that all of my readers could have been there with me, because absolutely everyone loves a carnival!

As always, happy reading!