Jane Addams Children's Book Awards and birthday in NYC

I'm just back from the Jane Addams Children's Book Award Ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for books that promote peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races. This was an especially celebratory year, as it was also the 150th anniversary of her birth.

I was incredibly honored that Marching for Freedom was the winner for older children. The awardees all came to the presentation, except Phillip Hoose, who had a previous commitment. He sent his publisher, Simon Boughton, to stand in for him. The speeches were all incredible. I was brought to tears by Andrea Davis Pinkney, who came up to the podium and ... sang. I don't even remember what the song was, just that it was so incredibly beautiful to hear her. It was as if everyone in the room stopped breathing, for just a few stanzas. Then she rolled right into a moving speech.

Here are the amazing women who served as the awards committee:

And the Jane Addams Literature Circle for Girls who read all the honored books and talk about the themes of social justice around the world. Amazing girls, amazing facilitators.

Linda Belle, exec. director, closed out the ceremony with: "Become a dangerous woman!" Love that.

And a new experience for me. My hotel was right across from the United Nations. so before I could enter the building, my suitcase was carefully checked out by a bomb sniffing dog.

He looks relaxed here, but he swings into nose-sniffing gear with a quick command.