They just sent out the press releases!

I won the 2011 Charlotte Zolotow award!

It’s for the best picture book text for the whole year!

And my book Big Red Lollipop won!

Between this and the New York Times pick, wow!

And wait till you see the runners up! They include the likes of Mo Willems and Kevin Henkes!

The guy who wrote Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!!!! And the guy who wrote all those fantastic picture books like Lily and the Purple Purse  and Chrysanthemum!

I remember the first time I read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. I was in a Chapters and I’d heard of this book and I picked it up off the shelf and right there in the store, I guffawed! Brilliant!

Kevin Henkes has won the Charlotte Zolotow before. He writes more gentle books, but oh, he’s got a real knack for capturing the emotions of a kid.

I’ve been invited to the award ceremony in Wisconsin on March 5th, insha Allah.

During which I get 10-15 minutes to say a few words!

I told the chair of the committee today that 10-15 minutes is just clearing my throat. I’m a storyteller! LOL

But I will be rigorous when it comes to staying within time.

I think it’s the height of arrogance to exceed a time limit in speaking!

Always, always, leave them wanting more!

Subhanallah! Alhamdu lillah!

And yet this doesn’t mean I can relax. I still need to fix all the problems in every new story I want to write. It never gets any easier.

But that’s okay. I’ve learned that it all comes with the territory, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.