Meg Medina has gotten “the call” before. In January 2014, the ALA’s Pura Belpré committee telephoned to say that her YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, had won its gold medal for narrative. Still, Medina was overcome with emotion when the phone rang this Monday morning and she learned she was the winner of the Newbery Award for her novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears. “Just to join the amazing authors who have already won, that my name is going to be part of that list, that is why my knees buckled, why I wept,” she said.
Sophie Blackall was literally half a world away from Seattle when she heard from the Caldecott committee that her picture book Hello Lighthouse had been selected as the winner of this year’s Caldecott Medal. She recently finished up a residency working with students in Singapore and was enjoying some downtime in Myanmar—14 1/2 hours ahead of Seattle time—before embarking on her journey home to Brooklyn. When the phone rang, Blackall said, “I could not have been more surprised. This is quite a surreal place to begin with, and I’m not entirely sure any of this is real.”
When the phone rang in her Washington, D.C. home on Saturday evening, Elizabeth Acevedo saw that it was from an unfamiliar number, and chose not to pick up. The debut author of The Poet X was preparing to go out to dinner with her family. But the caller persisted, and eventually left a voice mail. “The reception was a bit fuzzy,” Acevedo recalled, “but I did pick up on the words, ‘ALA Midwinter,’ and I told my family, ‘I have to return this call.’ ” Upon learning that she had won the Printz Award, she said, “I entirely lost my words. And all I could think was, ‘Here I am a writer, so I should have words, but I have zero words.’