Tag Archives: Kids

Where Hope Springs

Yesterday, I posted here for the first time in over a year. I was lucky to get to announce my friend Alison Goldberg’s cover reveal for her upcoming picture book I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES.

This morning, I’m scrolling back through all the supportive comments, the happy tweets and retweets, the Facebook joy and many shares of this important moment in Alison’s life and career. And once again, I see our community for what it is—a spring. spring-of-waterA spring of unparalleled beauty, sparkling, life-giving, earth-quenching. A rushing source of courage and creativity and optimism, of belief in the value and potential of our young ones, of conviction that story matters and can make a vital difference.

I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES, like my BABYMOON and so many others, is a “love” book. It’s meant to invite moments of simple enjoyment between children and those who care for them, to help them snuggle, share a giggle, or dream of adventures. Books like this knit relationships together in warmth and safety.

But they do something more too. They nourish children with the good food of rich language, of deep caring, of a world that makes sense. Just because junk food exists—or deadly poison, for that matter—doesn’t mean it should be given to children. Junk—like cheap, thoughtless language. Or poison—like hatred, evil, violence.

There is no way to permanently protect children from these things, of course, and some never have a moment of peace between their first breath and the terrors of the world. But some do. I have to believe that if these young people are filled with good food, they will grow strong and happy. They will not be satisfied with junk or tempted by poison. They will have drunk from the spring of love, and that is permanent. It changes them. It makes them who they are meant to be, and we all need that. The whole world needs it.

So write the love books. Publish the love books. Fill our homes and libraries, shelters, schools, and park benches with them. And if you have the chance, pull a young one close and read one to them. Nourish them with laughter and hope. Encourage them to believe that a better world can exist. Because it can, and with their help and ours, it will.

Enjoy the day,

Hayley


hayleys-author-photo-small

I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My picture book BABYMOON celebrates the birth of a new family and is coming from Candlewick Press. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW, a narrative nonfiction picture book, is coming in spring 2019 from Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books and will be illustrated by Diana Sudyka. I’m represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I also blog for the agency at https://emusdebuts.wordpress.com.

 

Alison Goldberg’s Big Moment!

alisons-author-photoIt is my great honor to host Alison Goldberg today as she reveals the cover for her debut picture book, I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES, coming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux next December. (How will we wait??)

Alison, this is so exciting! I’ve watched this book transform from an idea to a manuscript. Now it’s almost a real book. How did you first get the idea?

Between the ages of two to four, my son was deep into trucks. My daughter loved building complicated train tracks. We lived and breathed vehicles for a few years. The bedtime game, “How much do you love me?” turned into a comparison of the size, strength, and length of all things that go. After many nights of coming up with these examples for my own children, I thought this could be a fun take on a love book.

I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES is *perfect* for children who love trucks, boats, planes, and trains! It’s sure to be a favorite of caregivers too, with enough heart to make story time a sweet, snuggly experience again and again.

With no further ado, here’s the gorgeous cover!

loveyouformiles_biblio

What did you think when you first saw the cover, Alison?

I was absolutely thrilled! There is so much movement and so much sweetness in Mike Yamada’s illustrations. The perspective of the plane flying toward the reader is incredible. And I love those bears!

Heavy-duty vehicles zoom, soar, and dig on every page. Mike Yamada’s dynamic, vibrant illustrations are packed with page-filling excitement! Here’s a bigger sneak peek:

 I especially like how I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES offers readers—both child and adult—the profound reassurance that, “Love can be stronger than the strongest excavator” and “steadier than the steadiest tugboat.” I can’t wait to preorder it and share it with the trucks-and-trains kids in my life.

So, do you have any advice for new picture book writers?

Revise, revise, revise.

 Also, finding critique partners to share the challenges and the joys of this process is so important. When you go to classes, conferences, or events, don’t be shy about approaching people.

 Hayley, we met in NYC at a SCBWI conference, even though we both live in the Boston area. I remember hearing you read a fabulous picture book manuscript at a roundtable and thinking, I need to connect with her!

I remember feeling the exact same way at the time, and now here we are! Congratulations, my friend!

————————————————————————-

More about Alison:

Alison Goldberg is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before becoming a children’s book author, Alison worked for economic justice organizations and wrote a resource guide about social change philanthropy. These days, she blogs about activism in children’s literature and loves researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison is also a board member of the Food Research and Action Center, an organization committed to ending hunger in the United States.

Alison participates in Picture the Books, a group of picture book creators with 2017 debuts and is a member of The Writers’ Loft (thewritersloft.org) in Sherborn, MA. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Learn more about Alison and I LOVE YOU FOR MILES AND MILES at www.alisongoldberg.com or on Twitter @alisongoldberg.

 

Worth The Wait—Heartfelt Thanks To A Book Auntie

Adults give books to children because we remember, often from our own childhoods, their lasting gifts of pleasure, surprise, and enlightenment. We remember, and so we’re willing to wait for the moment when the child steps away from whiz-bang, light-up, push-button entertainment and picks up the book we selected just for them. We trust the book—whether published yesterday or a hundred years ago—to speak to our particular reader in its particular way.

This year, I’ll give C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books (plus a box of Turkish Delight) to a nephew who is ready and waiting for them, although I doubt he knows it.

I’ll give an old favorite, Nancy Bond’s A STRING IN THE HARP, to a niece in 5th grade, because I was in 5th grade when it was first pressed into my hands by my school librarian. I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of the surprise near the end!

I’ll give Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s ONE FOR THE MURPHYS to another nephew. He’s a person of deep feeling and compassion, and I want him to know that I see and honor those qualities.

The young people in my life are used to getting books from me. They are learning, I hope, to look forward to the flat, rectangular packages. But if not, I can wait. Just like the book auntie in Alice Low’s wonderful poem, I can wait.

A MERRY LITERARY CHRISTMAS–By Alice Low

When Christmas shopping time draws nigh,
And I am faced with gifts to buy,
I think about one relative
Who always had one gift to give.
Year after year her present came,
And every year it was the same.
While other gifts were round and fat,
(their secrets hidden) hers was flat,
Rectangular, the corners square,
I knew exactly what was there.
I’d pass it by without a look—
My aunt had sent another book!
I’d only open it to write
A “thank-you” that was too polite,
But every year when Christmas went
I’d read the book my aunt had sent,
And looking back, I realize
Each gift was treasure in disguise.
So now it’s time to write her here
A thank-you note that is sincere.

So—thanks for Alice and Sara Crewe
For Christopher Robin and Piglet and Pooh,
For Little Nell and William Tell
And Peter and Wendy and Tinker Bell

Thanks for Tom and Jim and Huck
For Robinson Crusoe and Dab-Dab The Duck,
For Meg and Jo and Johnny Crow,
For Papa Geppetto’s Pinocchio.

For Mary Poppins and Rat and Toad,
King Arthur and Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road,
For Kipling’s Kim and tales from Grimm,
And Ferdinand, Babar, and Tiny Tim.

I loved them all, I’m glad I met them.
They’re with me still, I won’t forget them.
So I’ll give books on Christmas Day
Though I know what all my nieces say—
I know it from the way they write
A “thank-you” that is too polite.

I’m Reading in the Rain!

I won’t borrow a book from you. If you absolutely, positively insist, I’ll accept your book and take it home. Once home, I’ll stash it somewhere until I can get my own copy. Then I’ll return yours. Why? Because I love to destroy books.

That’s putting it too strongly. What I mean is this:  If I love a book, it shows. Spaghetti sauce stains. Cocoa dust. Bits of paper tucked in here and there. I read while I cook, while I eat, and while I shower. That’s right. In. The. Shower. I am an all-terrain reader.

Home Cooking

In college, I took a one-day class on book restoration. It was fascinating. I loved to handle the old books with their embossed leather bindings and gilded edges. They were beautiful and worthy of painstaking preservation. They would not, however, lend themselves to my habit of of reading-while-doing.

I think kids need books they can destroy. Books that can be chewed, scribbled in, left outside, loved. They need books that belong to them. If books are always owned by someone else–an adult, a school, a library–the reader is compelled to think of the preservation of the object as well as the enjoyment of the content. That’s okay sometimes. It’s not okay all the time.

Take it from me, the shower reader. Let your kids take their books in the rain, under the sprinkler, into the tub. Books are durable. A dousing of water won’t hurt and usually improves them. The book will dry out and the ruffled pages will be even easier to read.

Enjoy the day.

 

Long Live The Also-Reads!

Some people prefer to focus on one book at a time. I like to have a few going. I generally have The Book, a new one that’s my primary read, and an assortment of also-reads. Also-reads are books I’ve read and enjoyed before or books that are rollicking reading romps. I trust them and look to them for pure literary pleasure.

My big-B Book at the moment is Tara Sullivan’s GOLDEN BOY. It’s about a Tanzanian boy with albinism named Habo. Because of his unusual coloration, Habo’s life is in mortal danger. Peddlers of magical charms are after his skin, hair, and other body parts to sell to those looking to ward off evil and acquire luck. This book is in turns gripping and horrifying. I’m about halfway through.

My also-read is Susan Branch’s newest, entitled A FINE ROMANCE–FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. It is a delight, full of all the things I love. Travel, England, Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, tea, scones, and gobs and gobs of clotted cream. Like all of her works, it’s a beautiful book,  handwritten and adorned with tiny, pretty watercolors. It even has a red ribbon bookmark. What more could I want?

Summer is a great time for also-reads. I encourage you to leave books lying around. Old favorites. New and exciting temptations. Leave them where they can be sampled, nibbled, savored for a minute or an hour. Leave them in the bathroom, next to the kitchen sink, near the laundry waiting to be folded. There is always time to read, if there is something to read close at hand. If you have to look, you’ll likely to find something other than a book that will catch your attention.

This summer, it’s time for me to dip into Elizabeth Wein’s brilliant CODE NAME VERITY again. I expect I’ll also give Erin Dionne’s MOXIE AND THE ART OF RULE BREAKING another go. Of course, there is always my very favorite, Anna Sewall’s masterful Victorian guilt trip, BLACK BEAUTY. That one’s never far from me.

As for parents who wish to cultivate well-read children, they should valiantly resist the urge to tuck books away on shelves. Out of sight and hard to find? Almost surely out of mind.

Enjoy the day.