Are you buying any of my books to give as a gift this holiday season? If so, thank you!
I’d be thrilled to send you a signed bookplate and some book swag for you to include with your gift. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the details (which book, to whom it should be personalized, and what mailing address you’d like it sent to), and I’ll pop them in the mail for you ASAP.
And, again, thank you! It’s like giving a gift to me, too. =D
Many of us who write books for children, recommend books for children, and teach children to read books have been wondering lately what more we can do to move the world forward to have more inclusivity, compassion, and empathy. We’ve been wondering if our efforts really make a difference. We may have been tempted to pull back, to retreat, to avoid the difficult conversations and interactions. But sometimes pushing past the discomfort and making an honest connection can make all the difference in the world.
I just read a beautiful article in the Washington Post written by fellow kidlit author and agency-mate Suzanne Nelson. In the article, Suzanne writes about a birthday party that she didn’t go to because the girl was hearing impaired and communicating with her was awkward. She writes about how she still hasn’t been able to forgive herself for making that cowardly decision. And she writes about how we can help others avoid acting similarly:
Every moment we share books, music, conversation, or meals with people who might not be completely like us, is one moment more that we benefit and grow as human beings, that we recognize the beauty, fluidity, and worth of our differences. And the more we do this as adults, the more our children recognize how to interact, how to have empathy. We all have moments when we are less than kind, less than tolerant, less than the people we strive to be. With exposure, contact, and education, I hope my children grow up to have fewer of them. Maybe they’ll walk through that door, and maybe they’ll go to that party.
The article reminded me of a woman I was friends with in college. I met her when I was working as an assistant in the computer lab. She often needed help. She was in a motorized wheelchair. She was elderly. She had cerebral palsy. She could barely talk. She made the letters on the screen so big she could only read a few words at a time. She would type her papers one difficult keystroke at a time, jabbing at the keyboard with a fat pencil. She often missed and had to go back and try again, sometimes shrieking in anger. It was painstaking to watch, and yet I admired her determination. Were any of the rest of us taking our education that seriously? Would any of the rest of us have willingly put ourselves through that frustration and embarrassment every single evening and weekend?
Over time, I got to know her better. I started being able to decipher her slurred speech and have meaningful conversations with her. Despite the communication barriers and the generation gap, we became friends. Sometimes when she saw me outside of the lab she would get so excited that she would smile and laugh, which often resulted in drool and spitting. People around us would recoil in disgust. I had too, initially, but what’s a little spit among friends? When I invited my boyfriend, who is now my husband, to visit me at college, we made plans to go out to dinner with her. She knew how I felt about him and was joyous at meeting him, so pizza and drool were flying everywhere, often spraying us and our plates. I was worried that he’d be upset with me for putting him through this, but the entire meal he treated her with respect and interest. He waited for me to translate her speech so he could converse with her. Afterward, he said something to the effect of, “What an interesting, amazing woman. I can see why you like her.” I fell in love with him all over again because of that interaction.
My life has been forever enriched by knowing her and others like her. So, I urge you to read Suzanne’s whole article, here. I urge you to write, recommend, and teach books that will help children choose kindness and inclusivity and to value all kinds of people of all abilities, races, religions, orientations, identities, etc. And I urge you to take a risk, seek connection over comfort, and make sure you go to that party.
Here are some possible books to start with:
I’ve never been very much into Valentine’s Day, but when Lynda Mullaly Hunt invited me to participate in this awesome book giveaway for teachers, I jumped at the chance! Authors do love teachers, and generally, teachers love books, so it’s a perfect opportunity for us to show a little love to those who are so often under-appreciated.
Just check out all of the amazing SIGNED books that will be won by one lucky teacher:
To enter to win this fabulous giveaway, teachers and teacher-librarians just need to:
1) Leave a comment on Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s blog about anything you wish.
2) Share a post on Twitter with a link to this blog post and the hashtag #MGAuthorsLoveTeachers.
3) RT someone else’s tweet with both the blog post link and hashtag.
***Giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 18th, at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be announced on the 19th.
1) This is to show our appreciation for teachers and librarians, specifically. Therefore, the winner must have a school mailing address and be presently employed at that school.
***2) Please remember this giveaway is all about appreciation. We know that teachers do not get the appreciation they deserve. This giveaway is a reminder that WE appreciate TEACHERS. They are often the ones putting our books into the hands of the readers who need them. For that we are truly grateful. THANK YOU for what you do everyday–and for visiting our giveaway!
But wait, there’s more…. Several YA authors have also banded together to show their love of and appreciation for teachers by giving away their books, too! For more information about the #YAAuthorsLoveTeachers giveaway, click here.
Whether you’re a teacher or not, please share this post with all of your favorite teachers and teacher-librarians so they can enter the giveaways, and don’t forget to show them a little extra love!
You may have seen this meme going around on various author and/or illustrator blogs where people answer questions about their writing process. I’ve been enjoying reading other people’s answers and learning from their thoughts about process, so when I was tagged by my talented author/illustrator friend, Jennifer K. Mann, I decided to add a post about my process here. Enjoy!
Jenn has been on a roll lately! Her first illustrated book, TURKEY TOT, written by George Shannon, just came out last October. TWO SPECKLED EGGS, her first author/illustrator debut, just came out in April. And she’s just finishing up the final art for I DEFINITELY WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, which will come out next year. You can read about Jenn’s writing and illustrating process here. Thanks for tagging me, Jenn! Let the Q&A begin…