It is hard for the colleagues and friends of two amazing children’s librarians to be in Denver for the American Library Association MidWinter conference.
It was on January 28, 2009 that the beloved librarians Kate McClelland, and Kathy Krasniewicz (both from the Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich, CT) were tragically killed by a drunk driver on their way to the Denver airport after ALA Midwinter.
As ALA returns to Denver for the first time in nine years, many children’s librarians are remembering Kate and Kathy with a deep sense of loss. I had been in touch with the Colorado family court who suggested donating books to the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center (https://childlawcenter.org/about/) as a way of honoring the memories of Kate and Kathy. The Children’s Law Center is grateful to be included.
An email went out to Children’s Book Marketing folks last week. And the response from the children’s book publishing community has been incredibly supportive. A big thank you to Paula Singer, a children’s book consultant and Denver resident who walked the convention floor. We’ll be picking up the books on Monday after the Youth Media Awards press conference and they will be delivered to children in difficult circumstances. These children will feel the love of Kate and Kathy through the books that they will be able to keep for their very own.
Last night I spent some time with debut children’s book authors Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes who are Boston Marathon bombing survivors. The picture book is not about the bombing. It about the relationship between a young woman and her service dog Rescue. Patrick spoke about choice. Choosing to spend his time on the seconds after the bombing, not on the hate of the persons who caused him to lose his leg. Choosing to think about the people after the horrific event and how those people rushed into unknown danger to help the injured.
We, children’s librarians come to Denver to remember not one horrific event that took our friends from us. We choose to remember their smiles. We remember their joy in sharing and their generosity in mentoring. Children’s Books do change lives. The children who receive these books will have a moment of light. This is the moment we all can share.