Monday, January 11, 2016

Wow. (That was All She Could Say. WOW.)

Well, we've had rather a good Monday morning here at the Bradley household. I just finished watching my book, my very own book, the one I wrote and rewrote (and rewrote and rewrote) and love, get all the love at the American Library Association's youth media awards press conference. The War That Saved My Life is now a Newbery Honor book and co-winner of the Schneider Award; the audio version won the Odyssey.

It's pretty amazing. I haven't even begun to process it, but meanwhile my phone is going off like the smoke alarm on Thanksgiving Day. I love the other winners: Last Stop on Market Street (though seriously--who saw that coming???), Echo, Roller Girl, and Fish in a Tree. I'm really chuffed right now.

But I'll tell you a secret: we had our big celebration last night. NOT because I knew what was coming--I did find out about the Schneider Award yesterday, to my amazement, but got the call from the Newbery committee at 6:30 this morning and learned about the Odyssey award by watching the press conference.

Last night my husband cooked me and our daughter a wonderful dinner. We ate it in front of a fire in the fireplace, with the sort of wine he cellars for special occasions. My food was served on the CONGRATULATIONS plate that our family pulls out when congratulations are due. And it wasn't for the Schneider, although I'm massively thrilled about that.

It was because my family celebrates journeys instead of destinations.

I don't want to get all mushy here. This day is really important to me, but I've always known that awards are way outside my control. All I can ever do is write as well as I can, and this year, as the buzz increased, it was pretty clear that a lot of people thought my book deserved a seat at the table. So we gave it one at our house, too, toasted the book and the trip, not the award.

My husband is a very talented surgeon. He's awesome about spending time with our family, both by working reasonable hours and by taking lots of vacation, but his days fill up really far in advance and he can't just decide to skip one. Rescheduling patients is reserved for family funerals, the birth of a child--even when he ruptured his Achilles tendon and had to have emergency surgery, the man only missed two days of work.

So you can imagine my surprise last Thursday night, when Bart said, "I'm going to tell you now. I took Monday off work. I'm going to stay and watch the awards with you." He grinned. "If you win we'll cheer, and if you don't we'll say, "Boooooo."

"You took Monday off?" I'm flabbergasted.

"I wanted to be with you."

"Yes, but--when did you do that?" I know he's scheduling surgeries six months in advance.

He smiled even bigger. "Months ago."

Geez, the love I have behind me. Geez, the party I have in front of me. We're over the moon, here--and we were before the announcements began.


  1. This is SO AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL. Bask and enjoy, and congratulations!

  2. Awwww... Points for Bart on many levels. The longer I know him, the more I appreciate him. ( And you already know that applies to you, too.)

    I think you may guess that I am dancing with glee here. I will put off calling till things slow down. So excited for you. Well deserved.

  3. This post made me all weepy. Congratulations!

  4. Truly lovely. So excited to see your wins this morning!!

  5. So happy for you! What an honor!

  6. Did you hear the cheers coming from MN? My students, colleagues and I all celebrated your well-deserved recognition today! Congratulations from your fan club at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School!

  7. So thrilled for you! And, what an amazing support system you have!

  8. I read pieces of this entry to my fifth grade students to give them a sense of what winning a book award really means to an author. Thank you for your wonderful book and congratulations from Franklin Elementary in Keene, NH!

  9. I just finished The War That Saved My Life and I was so moved. What an incredible book. When I looked you up, I also found out that you're a fellow Smithie!! I'm a school librarian and Smith class of 2002. And the book is going on my wish list for our school! Congratulations on your well-deserved awards and honors.

  10. Happy tears! So proud of you and to know you!

  11. I'm reading The War That Saved My Life, it is so good! I'm so glad it got the honor! When you get the citation, can you share with us what it looks like?


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