Lucky Dog

July 3, 2008 • Posted in Beth Finke, book tour, Hanni, Uncategorized, Writing for Children by

Book CoverHenry Bergh Award stampWow. So many wonderful things happened while Hanni and I were in Anaheim to accept the Henry Bergh children’s book award from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) — it’d take an award-winning writer to sum it up in one blog post. Hey. Wait. I am an award-winning writer now! I oughta be able to condense this great weekend into 500 words, right? Let me give it a try. Sunday morning started with a fundraiser for the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority in Downey, CA. We’d do presentations there and sign books. Proceeds would go to the shelter.
The drive there took us speeding down one of those famous California eight-lane freeways. We were close to our destination when our driver (Kristen Limbert, the Coordinator for Humane Education at the ASPCA) saw a dog crossing the road. “I’ve gotta stop,” she said, merging through deadly traffic to pull over to the side, open her window and make kissy noises. The puppy was understandably confused by all the traffic, but somehow needled his way right into Kristen’s arms. Now, that was one lucky dog. What were the odds of an ASPCA van crossing his path, headed directly to the local Animal shelter?! He had no tags, so was dubbed Henry — for the book award, of course! Hanni stayed calm for the entire ordeal, and Kristen vowed that if no one adopts Henry by the end of the week, she’ll take him home.

Beth and her sister Cheryl at the American Library Association conference

My sister Cheryl and I--and Hanni, of course--at the American Library Association conference

After the shelter event Hanni and I joined my sisters Marilee and Cheryl at the American Library Association (ALA) convention center. Marilee had come from Orlando to join me; Cheryl had flown in from Seattle. We visited the Independent Book Publishers Association Booth to make sure the copy of Safe & Sound displayed there was front and center, then did the same at the ASPCA booth. After that, it was time for the ALA World Championship book cart precision drill team competition. From a blog post on LibGig:

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of such a thing? What is a Book Cart Drill Team? Well, you know what a drill team is, right? And you know what a book cart is, right? Well put them together and you get the single most nerdcore sporting event ever. Presiding over the festivities were Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka. They entertained the crowd, conducted interviews and provided color commentary while the judges tallied their scores…

There were pinwheels, there were catch and release routines, carts were spun on one wheel. Librarians surfed on carts, did splits on carts, wore sequins and lab coats, and the singing was amazing!

I was not a judge, but the Bibliofiles book cart drill team from the Austin Public Library was my favorite. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you already know how much Hanni and I love Austin. A lot was made of the drill team’s headgear (books that spun!) and I thought it was cool that the team learned sign language, donned white gloves, and interpreted their soundtrack to us. But what really sold me on the Bibliofiles was their grand finale– they rolled out a big banner of a famous Helen Keller quote: “Literature is my Utopia.” It was written in print, and in Braille. They took silver in the competition, and Marilee found a video on YouTube of their performance –check it out!

On Monday we went to an author presentation, signed up for contests, picked up free pencils, post-it notes, books and catalogs at exhibits, fronted Safe & Sound where necessary, then headed back to the hotel to get ready for the ASPCA/Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award ceremony. I slipped on my Lana Turner dress, Cheryl wore sequins, Marilee fluffed my hair and lent me her jewelry. Hanni stood proud as she guided me into the Anaheim Hilton for the event. True to form – I mean, Flo Finke didn’t raise no fools — we were the first to arrive at the party, and the last to leave. Yikes! I’m over 500 words already! I’m sure you are just on the edge of your seat, though, waiting for details of the award ceremony — guess you’ll just have to stay tuned for my next post!

Sarah On July 3, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Sounds like an intense visit to Cali! I wish I was there. California is beautiful! Perhaps they’ll invite you to L.A. or San Fransisco next…

Wow – I burst out laughing when I read your response about the profanity. No one has ever said that to me before. Incredible….

I’m so excited about leaving for GDFB on Monday!

Hope you’re having a good week. *smile*

Take care,


Beth On July 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm

For those of you who are unaware, “GDFB”stands for “Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind” — Sarah is heading there on Monday to get her very first guide dog.

Beth On July 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm

For those of you who are unaware, “GDFB” stands for “Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind” — Sarah heads there Monday to get her VERY FIRST guide dog.
HOW EXCITING! Have a helluva good time, Sarah!

Alexis and Julia On July 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm

I hope the dog that Kristin picked up on the road finds a good home and is loved for a long time.

Alexis and Julia On July 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm

P. S. I will be in Chicago at AER on the 24 and 25. Would love to see you.

Beth On July 3, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Alexis –
It’d be great to meet you — I am doing a session about blogging on the Thursday morning of the conference, it is called “Blogging by Ear:” and starts at the ungodly hour of EIGHT IN THE MORNING. If you don’t want to wake up that early maybe you can meet me in the hallway after the session is over?

Alexis and Julia On July 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

That’s one of many sessions I want to attend at 8:00 on Thursday morning.

Beth On July 4, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Wow! I honestly didn’t think *anyone* would be awake for *any* sessions at that time of day!

Sarah On July 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Haha, I wouldn’t be awake at eight in the morning and yet they wake us up at 6 at GDF. How am I ever going to survive?

bethfinke On July 4, 2008 at 5:26 pm

No need to worry — if GDFB is anything like the Seeing Eye, you will be so exhausted by the end of the day that you (and your new dog!) will go to bed early…!

Sarah On July 6, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I hope you’re right Beth! I’m pretty nocturnal. *smile*

nancyb On July 7, 2008 at 3:29 am

Hey Beth,
So glad to hear you had a great time in California. We were thinking about you and wishing you good travel luck with no airplane debacles!
I gave Bob a copy of your book for his bday but he feels cheated because his has no medallion! congrats again and glad everything went well.
love nb

Beth On July 7, 2008 at 11:15 am

Happy Birthday to Bob, and tell him he doesn’t have to feel cheated one minute longer – the ASPCA sent me a roll of extra stickers, I mean medallions. I’ll send one your way to stick on his book cover!

Alexis and Julia On July 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Will you be selling or giving away books in Chicago?

Beth On July 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I had hoped to sell and sign books after my talk but couldn’t work that out with AER. I will have a few books with me at my session, though, to give away as “prizes.” A reminder: my session at this year’s conference for the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the
Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) is called “Blogging by Ear” and is on Thursday, July 24 at 8 am at the Chicago Downtown Marriott. I plan to have Braille copies of “Safe & Sound” with me to give away during my session in addition to regular print copies of “Safe & Sound,” plus will have soft covers of “Long Time, No See.” Both books are available in print at and other online bookstores, and you can buy Braille versions of “Safe & Sound” from Seedlings Braille Books for Children: All my books are available for free to people who are blind– “Safe & Sound” is on bookshare, and “Long Time, No See” is available at the National Library Service Talking Book Program for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, call letters RC56482. Enjoy!

Henry Has a Home — Hooray! « Safe & Sound blog On July 12, 2008 at 7:47 pm

[…] tour , dogblog , travel Tags: ASPCA, Henry Bergh, Henry Bergh childrens book award Remember my Lucky Dog blog post? It was about Kristen Limbert, the Coordinator for Humane Education at the ASPCA. While […]

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