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July 2019

The American Library Association Conference in Washington, D.C., closed out the month of June. Do I even remember anything else that happened that month? 

Oh, there was that sighting of my forthcoming picture book, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, at the Sourcebooks booth at BookCon. That was pretty cool. Can't wait till that arrives on bookstore shelves in January 2020.

Then there was that posting of Booklist's starred review of Ordinary Hazards, accompanied by their interview with me about my memoir. Sweet! 

The June edition of The Horn Book was special, too. It celebrated the Coretta Scott King Award 50th Anniversary, and featured essays be several past award winners, including yours truly!

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures Ordinary Hazards The Horn Book Coretta Scott King Award 50th Anniversary

I shouldn't forget the emotional moment when I opened a package holding an advanced copy of Ordinary Hazards.  It almost made me cry, just thinking about all the years and tears, and hard work it took to bring that story to the page—a powerful moment that I taped to share with all my friends.  That was special.

Preparing for ALA where major book awards are handed out, got me fired up to write a blog titled "Going for the Gold: An Author Intervention." Hope you get a chance to read it.

Finally, there was ALA itself, where I attended the Coretta Scott King Awards 50th Anniversary Gala, in the Library of Congress, no less! We were honored to have Dr. Carla Hayden, our esteemed Librarian of Congress, greet us. The evening was magical, in every way, and I loved being part of the largest single gathering of award-winning African American authors and illustrators in memory. They included Sharon Draper, Jason Reynolds, Kekla Magoon, Ekua Holmes, Sharon Flake, Ashley Bryan, Eloise Greenfield, Kadir Nelson, Varian Johnson, Chris Myers—the list just went on, and on! Good stuff.

Nikki Grimes, Ekua Holmes, Jason Reynolds
At the CSK Gala with illustrator Ekua Holmes and author Jason Reynolds
Nikki Grimes and Katherine Paterson
Always happy to see my friend Katherine Paterson!
Jerry Craft
With Chris Myers at the CSK Breakfast. He's always a cut-up!
Nikki Grimes, Jason Reynolds, and Tonya Bolden
Tonya Bolden, in the house! Jason Reynolds is happy to see her, too.
Nikki Grimes and Traci Sorrell at ALA Coretta Scott King 50th Anniversary celebration
Loved getting to spend time with Traci Sorell

I finally visited the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which was Wow! I even managed to find the cover of a journal from the '70s featuring me on the cover! I was so stoked. 

National Museum of African American History & Culture
Look what I found at the National Museum of
African American History & Culture! Yup, that's me on the cover.
National Museum of African American History & Culture

I also enjoyed time at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, an excellent collection. If you live in the D.C. area, you really should check out that museum! You'll thank me later. And, btw, it includes two paintings by the artist who did Michelle Obama's official portrait (which I saw at the National Portrait Gallery, along with the portrait of Barack Obama.)

Nikki Grimes, Ekua Holmes, Jason Reynolds
Hanging out with my buddy, Michele Obama,
at the National Portrait Gallery! 
Her portrait was painted by Amy Sherald.
Figured I should visit
Barack's portrait, too. Didn't want him feeling jealous.
President Barack Obama official portrait by Kehinde Wiley
President Barack Obama's official portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, painted by Kehinde Wiley

ALA also marked my first opportunity to read from Ordinary Hazards, first on a panel organized by Lisa Von Drasek, which included Jon Scieska, who kept us all laughing. Then on to the fabulous Poetry Blast event, where I joined Siebert award-winner Joyce Sidman, Laura Purdie Salas, Laura Shovan, Liz Steinglass, and Marilyn Singer. It's hard to beat hanging out with a group of poets!

So much of ALA was memorable. I spied advance reader copies of Bedtime for Sweet Creatures at the Sourcebooks booth, which was cool, but then I happened upon 8-foot posters of my Ordinary Hazards book cover, scattered throughout the convention center halls, and that blew me away! Last but not least, there was my booksigning. It was wonderful to connect with librarians, and other authors, who were excited about receiving copies of my memoir. And there were a lot of them. In fact, my one-hour signing lasted for nearly two hours, and I was fine with that!

Giant Posters of Ordinary Hazards
Giant posters of Ordinary Hazards
Caught in the act of swooning over
those giant posters of Ordinary Hazards!
Book Signing Joy!
Booksigning joy!

I loved catching up with friends, of course: saw Katherine Paterson and Tonya Bolden at the CSK Breakfast, shared time with Traci Sorell, lunched with Matthew Winner, visited with Nikki Barthelemess, and enjoyed a literary ladies lunch with such wonderful women as Renee Watson, Hana Khan, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Shadra Strickland, and K.A. Holt, among others. Good times.

Literary ladies who lunch
Literary ladies who lunch! Shadra Strickland joined us later. 
Great group! We dined at Busboys & Poets. What could be better?

So, all in all, June was not half bad!  Looking forward to what this next month will bring.

This next month should be a bit quieter, which is great, because I'm exhausted! It's all good, though. 

Until next time.

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Nikki Grimes

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Ordinary Hazards The Horn Book Celebrates 50 years of the Coretta Scott King Award Bedtime for Sweet Creatures