EMMANUEL’S DREAM is available for pre-order!


My first pic­ture book, EMMANUEL’S DREAM, will be pub­lished in Jan­u­ary, but it’s avail­able for pre-order now!
Here’s the descrip­tion from the pub­lish­er’s web page:

Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah’s inspir­ing true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel’s Gift, nar­rat­ed by Oprah Winfrey—is noth­ing short of remarkable.
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dis­missed by most people—but not by his moth­er, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soc­cer, left home at age thir­teen to pro­vide for his fam­i­ly, and even­tu­al­ly, became a cyclist. He rode an aston­ish­ing four hun­dred miles across Ghana in 2001, spread­ing his pow­er­ful mes­sage: dis­abil­i­ty is not inabil­i­ty. Today, Emmanuel con­tin­ues to work on behalf of the disabled.
Thomp­son’s lyri­cal prose and Quall­s’s bold col­lage illus­tra­tions offer a pow­er­ful cel­e­bra­tion of tri­umph­ing over adversity.

To order your copy from an inde­pen­dent book­seller, vis­it Secret Gar­den Book­shop (if you add your per­son­al­iza­tion request in the com­ments sec­tion, I’ll sign it for you!) or check out IndieBound for a local book­store near you. Of course, you can also find it on Amazon.com or BN.com.
And, of course, you can always add it to your Goodreads shelf:

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Fantastic news–my first book sale!

Okay, so this post is a lit­tle late in com­ing. I’ve been care­ful­ly think­ing about relat­ed revi­sion notes as well as enjoy­ing just a lit­tle bit of bask­ing and cel­e­brat­ing (okay, a lot of bask­ing and cel­e­brat­ing!). Now that my feet are back on the ground, please allow me to share the offi­cial announcement…
I’ve sold my first book!

I can’t yet reveal all of the details (there’s a top-secret Awe­some Illus­tra­tor involved!), but I  can say that in my wildest dreams, I could­n’t have imag­ined any­thing bet­ter. My pic­ture-book biog­ra­phy about Emmanuel Oso­fu Yeboah (see pre­vi­ous post) will be edit­ed by the love­ly Anne Schwartz at Schwartz & Wade (Ran­dom House). Here’s a bit of a blurb about the book, cour­tesy of my amaz­ing agent, Ammi-Joan Paque­tte:

“When Emmanuel Ofo­su Yeboah was born, his right leg was short and twisted—completely use­less. It was 1977, and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Ghana, West Africa, were con­sid­ered cursed, and left their homes only to beg for food or mon­ey. Emmanuel chal­lenged the norm from his youngest days. Then, in 2001, he decid­ed to prove that peo­ple with phys­i­cal chal­lenges could do amaz­ing things, so he bicy­cled across Ghana—almost 400 miles—with one leg. His ten-day ride helped make him a vir­tu­al celebri­ty, but also a nation­al hero. As a direct result of Emmanuel’s efforts, Ghana even­tu­al­ly enact­ed pro­gres­sive dis­abil­i­ty laws.”

Her full announce­ment is on the Erin Mur­phy Lit­er­ary Agency web­site, here.
Part of what makes this the ulti­mate dream come true for is that this is the sto­ry I could nev­er let go of. It’s the first book I ever tried to write and has been through at least 30 MAJOR rewrites, chang­ing gen­res and tar­get age groups sev­er­al times along the way, and vary­ing in length from 200 words to 1500 words and every­where in between. I’ve put it away, stud­ied and learned, pon­dered and thought, writ­ten oth­er things, and been pulled back to this one again count­less times, over and over, for almost 7 years. This project has been my own per­son­al 400-mile bike ride, one that I don’t know if I could have com­plet­ed with­out the inspi­ra­tion I’ve derived from the sto­ry itself. To have it be the first book of mine to sell AND to have it land in such a per­fect, won­der­ful home at S&W is tru­ly unbe­liev­able. But please don’t pinch me, because this is one dream I don’t want to end.


Fartiste book cover
I’m a huge fan of Kath­leen Krull’s non­fic­tion books for kids, so I was sur­prised and dis­ap­point­ed to read her recent arti­cle in the Horn Book about the dif­fi­cul­ties she and her hus­band have had sell­ing their book FARTISTE! I would’ve thought a pic­ture book biog­ra­phy about a per­former who enter­tained audi­ences with his mas­tery of the art of the fart would be an easy sell, to a pub­lish­er AND on the book­store shelves! Does­n’t it sound like the per­fect idea for a kids book?
Here’s a case in point. Yes­ter­day, my son was hav­ing a bad day. I took him to the library because he said there was a book there that he want­ed. He walked straight to an emp­ty table in the children’s area and burst into tears. Come to find out, the book he want­ed had been lay­ing out on a table the last time we were in the library together—2 weeks ago—and now, to his sur­prise and great dis­ap­point­ment, it was gone. He didn’t remem­ber what book it was, and couldn’t tell me any­thing about it, except how heart­bro­ken he was and how no oth­er book in the whole library would do.
I walked over to the shelf, grabbed a copy of FARTISTE (which was on my mind because I’d just read the Horn Book arti­cle and was still mulling over my own afore­men­tioned sur­prise and dis­ap­point­ment), and hand­ed it to my sob­bing, incon­solable boy. “What’s this?” he asked skep­ti­cal­ly, stick­ing out his bot­tom lip. I told him. Curi­ous, he opened it up and read the first page. Engaged, he sank down to sit criss-cross in the floor in the mid­dle of the aisle. 15 min­utes or so lat­er, a per­fect­ly com­posed boy closed the book and said, “Thanks, Mom. That was a great book. Let’s take it home.” And he grabbed my hand and pulled me to the check­out counter.
So, thank you, Kath­leen, for the Horn Book arti­cle. And a big thank you, Kath­leen and Paul, from both of us, for stick­ing with FARTISTE. You have fans!