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!