When the Sid Fleischman Humor Award was announced in 2003 by the SCBWI, I turned to my husband and said, "I want to win this award someday." Hubby smiled and said, "You will. Someday."
I hadn't published a book yet, but I'd written several that had made the rounds and resided quietly in a filing cabinet. I had sold humorous greeting cards, essays for a variety of magazines and short stories, puzzles and poems. At that point, "someday" seemed a long way off.
The first year, 2003, the award was presented to Sid Fleischman to honor his body of work.
Each year, I watched fabulous authors win this prestigious award.
2004 -- Lisa Yee for Millicent Min, Girl Genius
2005 -- Gennifer Choldenko for Al Capone Does My Shirts
2006 -- David LaRochelle for Absolutely Positively Not
2007 -- Sara Pennypacker for Clementine
2008 -- No award given
Last Tuesday, I returned home from attending a play at our son's high school and listened to a message on our answering machine. "Hi, Donna. This is Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser from SCBWI. We're calling with some very happy news. Your novel has been awarded the Sid Fleischman Humor Award . . ." They said some other things about flying me to California this summer to accept the award, but I heard none of it.
I grabbed my husband and screamed, "I won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award!" He pulled back and said, "I knew you'd do it." I grabbed my sister, who was visiting from Philadelphia, and squeezed the stuffing out of her. And our boys. Then I screamed and screamed and screamed so loud and so long that I scared our dog half to death and managed to lose my voice for the next three days.
I replayed that message at least half a dozen times before calling Lin and Steve at SCBWI to confirm. It was true. I will be flown to the national conference in L.A. this August to accept the award and to give a workshop about writing humor for children.
Dreams really do come true . . .
2009 -- Donna Gephart for As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!
In January 2008, I had the great pleasure of meeting Sid Fleischman when we were both speaking at the FL SCBWI conference in Miami. During the faculty dinner, Sid leaned over, touched my arm and said, "Your speech was fantastic." When I was able to breathe again, I replied, "It's my greatest ambition to win the award named after you." Sid nodded sadly. "I'm sorry to hear that. You really should have higher ambitions."