Roger Sutton and the Horn Book at Simmons editors panel. Photo: Shoshana Flax.
On Saturday, October 3rd, we held our fifth annual Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, with the theme “Transformations.” Miss the fun? We’ve compiled a timeline of the day’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and other attendees. See Friday’s ceremony timeline here.
9:07 am: Good morning! We’re ready for a full day of great discussion about good children’s books!
9:10 am: Cathie Mercier: It’s easy to read what we know and like, but how do we push ourselves to read outside ourselves, read “otherways”?
9:14 am: @jescaron: @RogerReads and Cathie Mercier open #HBAS15 with words of wisdom and “grounding”
9:15 am: @RogerReads introducing keynote speaker Susan Cooper
9:19 am: Susan: Transformation in nature is generally cyclical. What about change in our minds? Imagination doesn’t follow any rules
9:20 am: @jescaron: Susan: “Change is an integral part of stories — it is called plot.”
9:21 am: Susan: Can words spark an unpredictable change in the mind?
9:22 am: @ShoshanaFlax: SC clearly read the May @HornBook carefully #swoon
9:24 am: Susan discussing different types of book transformations: retellings, adaptations from other media, making books more accessible
9:26 am: Susan: Fantasy is metaphor… It takes you through the imagination to truth
9:27 am: @jescaron: “People who write fantasy have chosen transformation…finding the magic from the real”
9:30 am: A tumultuous year in Susan’s personal life had profound effects on her writing. “As with writers, so with readers” — we seek escape in words
9:31 am: Susan: When reading, your imagination lives in the book. Reading is creating experience from imagination
9:32 am: Susan: This experience of living in a book can change you
9:33 am: Susan: Letters from readers say, “I read your book, and my world changed a little,” even if readers can’t articulate exactly how
9:35 am: Susan: “The imagination of a reader instinctively takes what it needs from a book and creates a kind of life belt”
9:38 am: Susan: You realize which books had a profound effect on your childhood imagination only by looking back
9:40 am: Susan: An imagination that delights in books as a child grows up and is able to nurture a hunger for books in the next generation
9:43 am: Which books were transformative for Susan in childhood? The Box of Delights and The Midnight Folk by John Masefield
9:44 am: Susan: Nonfiction can be transformative too: “a story is a story”
10:02 am: Nonfiction winner Candace Fleming and editor Anne Schwartz on “Bringing History to the Page”
10:03 am: Candace echoing Jacqueline Woodson’s metaphor of writing as childbirth: you forget how miserable it is and then you’re ready to do it again
10:04 am: Candace writes in longhand on loose-leaf paper — the smell of the ink is reassuring, reminds her of what she’s accomplishing
10:05 am: @jescaron: The Family Romanov went from a light and fluffy book to its final state — transformation!
10:06 am: Anne: As an editor it’s very difficult to ask an author to start over; both author and editor have already invested a lot of work
10:08 am: Fascinating to see original drafts, notes, and editorial letters for what became The Family Romanov
10:11 am: Anne liked the format of text snippets and sidebars, creating a narrative like a tapestry
10:15 am: Anne asked questions Candace “never saw coming,” which made her think about her research and narrative in different ways
10:18 am: Candace: “Anne is the best editor because she questions everything–and that makes me a much better writer”
10:21 am: Going to Russia helped Candace really understand the disparity between the Romanovs and the peasants whose “backs the palaces were built on”
10:23 am: Candace: Stories of peasant lives in Imperial Russia and the Russian Revolution are extremely difficult to find
10:28 am: Candace: Writing good nonfiction requires finding the “vital idea” you want to communicate, not just the facts
10:51 am: An Amazon reviewer called Candace a “vile socialist” for her portrayal of the Romanovs. She’s proud
11:06 am: Judge Maeve Visser Knoth in conversation with #bghb15 honoree Jon Agee about It’s Only Stanley in “How Do I Make You Laugh, Too?”
11:07 am: Stanley, like all of Jon’s books, started as a doodle in a notebook. If one of Jon’s doodles makes him laugh, he tries to follow that idea and flesh it out
11:10 am: Jon: Writing a picture book is “like fishing” — you start with an idea and “see if you can bring this fish in”
11:13 am: Jon says developing the plot of his picture books comes from a series of “what if” questions
11:14 am: Jon discussing how page-turns work with punchlines
11:18 am: Jon: “Sometimes when you’re working on a picture book, it’s like the story is already there” and you’re excavating it
11:27 am: Lear’s limericks made a big impression on Jon. They were about grown-ups, but grown-ups who were doing ridiculous things
1:08 pm: Great breakout sessions all around! Now @RogerReads is going to moderate editor panel “It’s a Manuscript Until I Say It’s a Book” #HBAS15
1:13 pm: Each editor is sharing a story of the “editorial magic” that helped turn the author’s manuscript into a #BGHB15-winning book
1:19 pm: Editor Liz Bicknell: “Editing is a backstage job. I wear black and sit in the curtains.”
1:20 pm: @maryj59: Liz: “Every writer demands different things of an editor.”
1:25 pm: Rosemary Brosnan: As an editor, “I like to feel that if I’ve done my job well, no one knows I exist”
1:39 pm: Nancy Paulsen: Editing is about “finding the writing that sings to you” as an individual reader — it might not be for everybody
1:34 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t be so rash
1:36 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Try to get a good picture of the marketplace
1:38 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Have confidence that you will eventually figure it out
1:39 pm: @jescaron: Editors muse on advice to younger selves — Don’t stay out so late
1:40 pm: @ShoshanaFlax: @nancyrosep & @lizbicknell1 both cite editor’s role to stand in for readers
1:52 pm: Nancy: “We all have the same goal…to make the best book possible.” Rosemary: “Sometimes we have to remind the author of that!”
1:44 pm: @maryj59: Rosemary: “An idea is just an idea. It’s the execution that matters.”
2:06 pm: Gregory Maguire in conversation with #BGHB15 judge Jessica Tackett MacDonald about Egg & Spoon in “Bringing Baba Yaga Home”
2:10 pm: Gregory: A story can have any number of inspirations. It’s not a one-to-one ratio
2:16 pm: Gregory discovered different roles for Baba Yaga in Russian folktales: the scary witch, the kindly crone… “That made her human”
2:17 pm: Gregory: “I had to get out of Baba Yaga’s way… It sometimes felt like channeling the devil”
2:20 pm: A theme of Egg & Spoon is “What can we little ones do” in the face of problems? What we older ones can do is give little ones courage
2:21 pm: Gregory: “I don’t write [specifically] for adults or for kids. I write for people who like to read Gregory Maguire books”
2:23 pm: Gregory quoting Katherine Paterson: “The consolation of the imagination is not imaginary consolation”
2:17 pm: @deirdrea: Gregory on why he loves Baba Yaga: “What we look like and what people think we are is NOT who we are.”
2:26 pm: Gregory showing us inspirational objects — including a tiny Baba Yaga house — he kept on his desk while writing Egg & Spoon
2:30 pm: @RogerReads asks, Are today’s readers well-versed enough in fairy tales & folklore to know the references Gregory is asking them to engage with?
2:32 pm: Gregory Maguire: Maybe Egg & Spoon is a reader’s first introduction to Baba Yaga, but he hopes it won’t be their last introduction
2:37 pm: @RogerReads has nothing to do with the BGHB judges’ choices, but “the happiest news I got this year was the announcement that The Farmer and the Clown won BGHB Picture Book Award”
2:40 pm: Marla Frazee & editor Allyn Johnston discussing The Farmer and the Clown in “Do I Need Words with That?”
2:41 pm: Love seeing Marla and Allyn’s work spaces — and the real-life boys (their sons!) — from A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!
2:46 pm: A Couple of Boys… started as an illustrated thank-you note from Marla, James, and Eamon to Allyn’s parents for the boys’ nature camp trip
2:54 pm: Original title: “A Couple of Boys Go to Nature Camp (Sort Of)”
3:02 pm: Whoa, neither Marla nor Allyn had done a wordless book before The Farmer and the Clown!
3:07 pm: Marla: Part of The Farmer and the Clown illustration process was soaking the art in the bathtub between pencil and color!
3:19 pm: Really interesting backstory for Marla’s upcoming book with Victoria Chang, Is Mommy?
3:26 pm: #BGHB15 committee chair Barbara Scotto speaking with Neal and Brendan Shusterman about Challenger Deep in “When Life Provides the Story”
3:30 pm: Barbara: Did writing Challenger Deep change the meaning of the experience of facing mental illness for Neal and Brendan?
3:32 pm: Neal’s own tumultuous emotions — deep depression followed by euphoria — during a hospitalization for a blood disorder contributed to the novel as well
3:34 pm: Brendan: Mental illness is something we need to talk about. It’s easy to feel that you’re alone
3:37 pm: It was important to Neal to show Caden’s strength in facing and managing his illness, despite fact that it will never go away entirely
3:38 pm: Brendan’s original art is all in color; helped him to express what he was feeling during an episode. There’s a huge volume not included in Challenger Deep
3:39 pm: Much of the narrative of Challenger Deep was inspired by Neal’s interpretations of Brendan’s art
3:42 pm: Neal: the changes made to the manuscript in the editing process were small but extremely precise
3:46 pm: Neal: “When I submitted this manuscript, I was terrified…I had no idea if it even worked…As a writer you always need to be on that edge”
3:50 pm:@RogerReads asks, What was it was like for Neal when his fictional story started to diverge from Brendan’s real experience?
3:51 pm: Neal: it was easiest to write the pieces that did diverge, challenging to dovetail the 2 so readers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference
3:56 pm: Neal: “I look back at my body of work, and I feel that I everything I have written helped me to write this book”
4:01 pm: Cathie Mercier of @SimmonsCollege wisely and wittily recapping our day. How does she do that?!
4:03 pm: Cathie: “The writer lives two lives: the life lived, and the life unfolding on the page. The reader lives those dual lives too”
4:13 pm: Cathie: Who are the readers we leave behind? What are the topics we avoid due to discomfort? How can we transform literature itself?
4:14 pm: Cathie: Will we be able to transform ourselves to join young readers in the reading future?
4:15 pm: Thanks so much for a fantastic weekend at #BGHB15 and #HBAS15! See you next year!
More on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers,” is coming soon! Follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.
The post 2015 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium timeline appeared first on The Horn Book.
The winners and honorees. Photo: Aram Boghosian.
Did you miss the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards on Friday, October 2nd? Just want to relive the excitement of the ceremony? We’ve compiled a timeline of the evening’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and other attendees. See Saturday’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium timeline here.
5:43 pm: @jescaron: The crowd is gathering! Everyone ready for the ’15 @HornBook and @BostonGlobe Awards!
5:45 pm @Reflectlibrary: #HBAS15…I’m all a twitter!!
5:47 pm: Here we go… Cathie Mercier opening the #BGHB15 Awards ceremony!
5:51 pm: More opening remarks from the @BostonGlobe’s Linda Pizzuti Henry and @RogerReads of @HornBook. So much history with these three Boston institutions!
5:54 pm: @RogerReads: The BGHB Awards have only one central criterion: to honor excellence in books for children
5:56 pm: Chair Barbara Scotto will present the awards for fiction
5:58 pm: Gregory Maguire now accepting for Fiction Honor Book Egg & Spoon
6:00 pm: Gregory Maguire: “Baba Yaga c’est moi” — he most identifies with this madcap character
6:01 pm: @lauragmullen: Gregory Maguire accepts Boston Globe Horn Book Honor for Egg & Spoon and has room in stitches
6:02 pm: Gregory Maguire: We inherit a world of great beauty and great sorrow… We share both
6:03 pm: @SussingOutBooks: Gregory Maguire: “There are some things that are not diminished in being shared, but increased”
6:04 pm: Neal and Brendan Shusterman now accepting for Fiction Honor Book Challenger Deep
6:05 pm: Neal Shusterman: Challenger Deep began as just a title… What would “the deepest place on earth” mean in fiction?
6:06 pm: @ShoshanaFlax: Love that #BGHB15 award presentations include editors’ names #creditwhereit’sdue
6:07 pm: @lauragmullen: @NealShusterman “My editors taught me to write.” Delighted to learn from him at #BGHB15
6:08 pm: The Shusterman family’s experience with schizo-affective disorder provided a glimpse into that emotional “deepest place on earth”
6:09 pm: @jescaron: Challenger Deep — the story of a young adult struggling with mental illness and emerging from the deep
6:10 pm: @SussingOutBooks: “When I first turned in Challenger Deep, I had no idea how it would be received.” @NealShusterman, we are so glad you told THIS story
6:11 pm: Katherine Rundell’s editor David Gale accepting on her behalf for #BGHB15 Fiction Winner Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms
6:12 pm: Katherine Rundell is often asked, “Why children’s books? Why not ‘proper’ adult books?” Because children are extraordinary readers
6:13 pm: @MrsVanDusen223: Katherine Rundell: When you write you build a house. When kids read they build a castle
6:14 pm: Katherine Rundell: “I come back to children’s books because children’s books were there for me when I needed them most”
6:16 pm: Katherine Rundell: Books “helped me up and led me home” when lost. Children’s books say, “hope counts…love will matter”
6:18 pm: Katherine Rundell: “I asked [ed.] David Gale to read this out. I am making him thank himself. Which is a particular pleasure because he is so brilliant and modest”
6:20 pm: @jescaron: “Children’s books are not an way back out but a way in… they were not a crutch, they were wings”
6:21 pm: Judge Jessica Tackett MacDonald presenting Nonfiction Awards
6:23 pm: Editor Wesley Adams accepting on behalf of Phillip Hoose for Nonfiction Honor Book The Boys Who Challenged Hitler
6:25 pm: Phillip Hoose: Knud Petersen knew this book was his last chance to tell the story of The Churchill Club right
6:28 pm: Editor Nancy Paulsen accepting on Jacqueline Woodson’s behalf for Nonfiction Honor Book Brown Girl Dreaming
6:29 pm: @lauragmullen: @nancyrosep accepts #BGHB15 award on behalf of @JackieWoodson. What a team!!
6:30 pm: “Brown Girl Dreaming was not an easy book to write. I am glad to have that book in print — and out of me. Imagine a very long labor with no drugs”
6:31 pm: @SussingOutBooks: There were 32 drafts of Brown Girl Dreaming… @JackieWoodson @nancyrosep SO WORTH IT. Thank you for sharing your world with us
6:32 pm: Jacqueline Woodson: The post-labor euphoria of writing is having the book in print with a life of its own
6:33 pm: Candace Fleming accepting for #BGHB15 Nonfiction Award winner The Family Romanov
6:34 pm: @lauragmullen: She makes history have a heartbeat. The amazing @candacemfleming accepts her award for The Family Romanov
6:35 pm: Candace Fleming: The adult book Nicholas & Alexandra was (unwanted) book club selection of her mother’s, Candace’s first introduction to the Romanovs
6:36 pm: @jescaron: The Romanovs “were all roses and sweet kisses,” at least in Fleming’s memory
6:37 pm: Candace Fleming: The first drafts focused on Anastasia’s glamorous life with few hints of the sweeping events overtaking Russia
6:38 pm: Initially Candace Fleming avoided any mention of the Romanovs’ tragic end. The draft was factual, but not the truth
6:41 pm: Candace Fleming realized “I had work to do” when looking at her copious notes on the Romanovs’ riches but few on the lives of peasants
6:42 pm: Candace Fleming: “There is a difference between fact and truth, and to write a credible story—a compelling story—you need both”
6:43 pm: Judge Maeve Visser Knoth presenting award and honors for Picture Books
6:44 pm: Jon Agee accepting #BGHB15 Picture Book Honor for It’s Only Stanley
6:45 pm: Jon Agee: “It’s Only Stanley is a love story. There’s a lot of love in this book” although much of it is delusional, irrational love
6:46 pm: Jon Agee: there’s the canine love and then there’s the Wimbledon family’s love and trust for Stanley
6:47 pm: @jescaron: A book with a pink lunar poodle? Count me in! #ItsOnlyStanley
6:49 pm: Carmela Iaria accepting on behalf of Oliver Jeffers for #BGHB15 Picture Book Honor for Once Upon an Alphabet
6:51 pm: Oliver Jeffers: It was a risk to publish this weird, 112-page alphabet book, but worth it. Thank you to those who came on this strange journey
6:53 pm: Marla Frazee accepting #BGHB15 PB Award for The Farmer and the Clown. She’s glad to be in company of two of her favorite PB creators, Jon Agee and Oliver Jeffers
6:55 pm: Marla Frazee was baffled and troubled by conversations on social media around The Farmer and the Clown
6:56 pm: Marla Frazee: “Making sure words and pictures don’t stomp all over each other is maybe harder than focusing on one or the other”
6:57 pm: @jescaron: “Words and pictures can be equally misinterpreted”
6:58 pm: Marla Frazee: Saying that wordless books cede control to the reader is saying that the visual narrative provides a less powerful story
6:59 pm: Marla Frazee: Children are better at reading visual narratives than grown-ups are
7:01 pm: Because young children can’t yet read or read well, they rely on the visual narrative to guide them from emotion to emotion in a picture book
7:02 pm: Marla Frazee: The @HornBook has been a master’s class in children’s books for her since she graduated art school… 33 years! ♥
7:04 pm: Marla Frazee has taken heart in readers’ responses to The Farmer and the Clown — particularly very small children’s responses
7:05 pm: Marla Frazee: wordless books speak directly, secretly to children — no adult mediator necessary
7:06 pm: @RogerReads turning us loose to mingle, get books signed, and ooh and ahh over the winners
7:07 pm: See you tomorrow for #HBAS15 — lots more to come!
7:11 pm: @EmilyProcknal: Congratulations to all the 2015 @BostonGlobe – @HornBook Award honorees and winners. What an incredible evening at @SimmonsCollege
11:59 pm: @Wozleigh: Worth long drive for #HBAS15 tomorrow with @RogerReads, @NealShusterman, @candacemfleming, @nancyrosep, Liz Bicknell, Gregory Maguire, and SUSAN COOPER!
More coverage of the 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and the following day’s Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Transformations,” is on the way! In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.
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This week I haven't had much chance to keep an eye on the latest #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign developments, but thankfully people have still been talking about it!
I've been traveling around the country on the #PugsRoadshow tour with a relay team of Oxford University Press publicists and my Pugs of the Frozen North co-author, Philip Reeve. I thought there would be time to blog on tour, but it's been FULL-ON stage shows to thousands of kids and I've only managed to crash into bed at night, getting up early for the next morning school event.
On Tuesday, I'd been invited to a London reception for The Hospital Club 100 Awards, but I couldn't manage to get away from the tour to go, and since there were lots of big names on the shortlist, I was pretty sure I wouldn't win. So I was very surprised to get a tweet from @TheHospitalClub saying I had indeed won the award, which honoured the work done to promote the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign, followed by Sarah Shaffi's article in The Bookseller.
To be honest, I didn't quite get it; there are a lot of managing directors and people who are a lot more powerful in publishing than me; I'm pretty small-fry. So I looked into the award a bit more, and watched a video of the judges talking about what kind of people they were looking for in granting the awards:
* Somebody who doesn’t start a sentence with ‘The problem about publishing is…’ but they look at the challenges and the opportunities. - Simon Trewin
* Somebody who is making a mark and accelerating change. - Damian Horner
* What we are looking for in a winner is somebody who is challenging publishing and the wider book business. - Philip Jones
And I guess that's it, I have been trying to bring about change in a positive way: I know people in publishing care about illustrators and want to better for them, they just haven't realised how. At first I felt kind of embarrassed even to retweet the news, because I don't claim to be a major force in publishing, and I know lots of people have been trying for a long time to get illustrators better credited for their work. But here's why I think this year's been good timing for a campaign:
* Publishers are plugged into Twitter and illustrators can make it work for us. There's been a lot of attention concentrated around the Twitter hashtag #PicturesMeanBusiness because it's pulled the conversation together; people have been able to use it as a reference point without having to explain the whole argument each time:
* The digital age means pictures are more important than ever. Another reason I think the campaign has gained ground is because so much of what people read now is on the Internet, and the Internet is SO driven by images, and the sharing of images. Tweets that have images attached to them often travel much further than words-only tweets. Sites such as BuzzFeed know they need to break up their articles with images to make them go viral. Last year everyone thought the book was going to be dead soon because of ebooks, but instead we've seen growth in illustrated children's books and in luxury editions that people buy as beautifully designed objects; readers love the visual and tactile aspects of their books and they often want more than generic-looking words on a screen. Publishers are realising more and more that children want illustrated chapter books to fill the huge gap between picture books and text-only books. They're used to reading stories with pictures on many platforms (just like their parents, who share Facebook pictures) and ripping them suddenly away from illustrated stories can turn them off to reading entirely.
* Craft and making things is a huge force right now in publishing. People don't just want recipe books, they want to know about people who make the food. People like the idea of things being created by identifiable people; thus the rise in celebrity chefs and shows like Great British Bake Off. Readers and viewers like to connect with people who make things, and people find illustration a heartwarming concept. Colouring books are huge right now, lots of people want to play a part in creating images.
So the campaign is timely; it's impossible these days to argue that illustrations and cover designs aren't part of what make books sell. And freelance illustrators (and photographers) know they need to build their names as brands to establish their careers; these pictures don't create themselves.
Some advances we've seen this year:
* More publishers seem to be including illustrators' names on the front covers of highly illustrated books.
I don't have any concrete statistics about how many of these decisions were made because publishers were aware of the campaign, but from what I hear, it seems to be helping. I've had several e-mails from illustrators who hadn't previously been credited on covers, saying that because of the campaign, their publishers had reconsidered and are now going to give them a front cover credit.
* I've seen some growing expectation that celebrity writers will credit their illustrators when talking about their books to the media.
* Some illustrators seem to be realising that they need to speak up for themselves, and the hashtag gives weight to what they're saying. Hopefully agents are also more aware and are helping illustrators negotiate better contracts that don't leave cover credits and other crediting to the whim of marketing people near publishing time.
But we still face stiff challenges. I've had a lot of e-mails, direct messages and conversations with illustrators who are too scared to tweet using #PicturesMeanBusiness when an issue arises affecting their own books and branding, but who feel very strongly about the issue. They're afraid that they won't get more work if they try to negotiate a better deal for themselves or point out a failure in crediting, and they worry they'll be branded 'trouble'. By having a campaign, we're able to defend each other to a certain extent, so each person doesn't have to fight alone.
But the problem with a campaign is that it inevitably involves pointing out where people are doing something wrong, so the wrong can be made right. Even though almost everyone agrees with the campaign, I've annoyed several people rather badly by pointing out places where they should have credited illustrators. I do worry it will affect my own career, but I've had a sort of safety blanket because I work with Philip Reeve, who's an incredibly supportive co-author:
And my publishers - Oxford University Press Children's, Scholastic UK and David Fickling Books - all care about their illustrators and agree with the campaign. So I really owe it to them, that I haven't, like so many other illustrators, felt afraid I'd be risking my whole career to say anything.
Touring as an illustrator (and co-author) with Philip this week on the Pugs Roadshow has really shown me the power of images with kids; so many of them connect with our event when they get a chance to draw, and see us drawing. To pretend that Philip created the whole book and to ignore its many pictures would just be silly and miss a real chance to inspire them. The audiences are able to see that the pictures in the books they hold in their hands are created by a real person and connect with the story through the illustrations as well as through the words.
In his interview about The Hospital Club 100 Award, judge Simon Trewin made this point:
A lot is talked about what is going wrong with publishing at the moment. I think what is exciting about publishing is an opportunity for readers to develop a direct connection with people writing books. Whether it’s through blogs or vlogs, we have a direct connection now, and direct connections, in my experience, stimulate sales.
I agree, and with my #PicturesMeanBusiness badge on, I'd say that letting readers have direct connections with illustrators is a crucial part of interesting them in the book and making them want to read more. Creating enthusiastic readers is in everyone's interest, not just those of illustrators.
Thanks very much to The Hospital Club for the award, and the chance to spread the news further about #PicturesMeanBusiness!
Find out more at www.picturesmeanbusiness.com. (And here's the whole judges' video if you want to watch.)