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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008 10:18 am
What We Did at Conference Part 2: The Odyssey Award
Posted by: Mary


What a wonderful night! The Booklist Magazine Books for Youth Forum at the 2008 American Library Association conference in Anaheim celebrated the very first Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. Stephanie Zvirin welcomed the standing-room-only audience of 500 or so with the bittersweet announcement that this was her last Forum, as she will be leaving her post as Booklist’s Books for Youth Editor after more than 30 years. Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist’s Media Editor, served as the event moderator, introducing author & audiobook producer Bruce Coville whose Homeric words proved to be the perfect symbolic Champagne-bottle-smash to set the Odyssey off on its voyage. His ritual shedding of the jacket is now an entrenched part of the finest Booklist-sponsored ALA gala events – as was echoed by Lynn Rutan at the 2008 Printz Award ceremony. Next, I had the honor to thank the awesome members of the Best. Committee. Ever. Those wonderful women made my year as chair of the Odyssey Award the best year ever! Learn more in Sylvia Vardell’s Booklist article My Odyssey Voyage that takes you behind the scenes of the committee.

The fantastic ALSC staff coordinated the creation of the Odyssey Honor plaques (equal to the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz). I had the privilege to present the Honor recognition to Listen & Live Audio for Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary ‘Jacky’ Faber, Ship’s Boy; Weston Woods for Dooby Dooby Moo; Listening Library for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; HarperChildren’s Audio for Skulduggery Pleasant; and Listening Library for Treasure Island. Read Booklist’s reviews of the Honor titles here.

The highlight of the evening was the standing ovation for 2008 Odyssey Award winner Arnie Cardillo of Live Oak Media as he took the stage to accept the beautiful gold medal for his production of Jazz – read Booklist’s review here. He spoke to the audience about the amazing collaboration between author Walter Dean Myers, illustrator Christopher Myers, and the 15-member Live Oak production team that worked for five months to create the 42-minute readalong audiobook. The perfect end to the program were the witty & warm remarks and mesmerizing readings from audiobook narrator extraordinaire Simon Vance, recently honored with the title “Voice of Choice” by Booklist Magazine. Who knew that this was his very first public speaking appearance after over 400 audiobooks & stage, screen, and TV acting career!?! The final touch was an appearance by Harry Potter narrator Jim Dale via recorded DVD, who elicited fan-girl squeals from Odyssey committee members when he gave them his special thanks. When we looked out from the stage and saw Newbery-winning authors sitting on the floor throughout the night, we knew this was a night to remember!

You can share the highlights of the evening by listening to the Odyssey Award podcast here. Look for a future post with Jim Dale’s video from the Odyssey Award Celebration!

Happy Listening!

Mary Burkey

2008 Chair, Odyssey Award

Update: Here’s the link to the Jim Dale video.



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