I just got the news that Sid Fleischman died on Wednesday a day after turning 90. I loved his books and I loved that I got a chance to meet him many years ago and share a meal while I was visiting a good friend in Milwaukee. My friend had been on the Newbery Committee that awarded the medal to Sid for The Whipping Boy. It was a special evening for her and it was a thrill for me as a new ALSC member to see the respect and fondness and gratitude that the two shared as they chatted that evening.
That bond between a committee member and an honored author is one I got to experience and witness again as a member of the Newbery and later the Caldecott Committees. It is why I think that service on those committees should be something that is rare in our careers - so it can be experienced by as many children's book lovers as possible.
Even without that personal experience, we readers take our authors to our hearts as we read their words. They always become friends. Lucky us to have had Sid Fleischman in our reading lives.