Wednesday, September 7, 2016
This is where it all began. The children of Malawi inspired the book Galimoto, still going strong after 26 years. From the New York Times Best Books to a Reading Rainbow feature book, Galimoto is in Malawi to promote reading.
The children of Malawi inspired the book now the book is inspiring reading in Malawi. Full circle!
Friday, August 26, 2016
This little book about a big,difficult subject does it again, brought another smile from my inbox. This one from Decatur, Georgia where a pastor reports he built a sermon around Four Feet Two Sandals.
The theme, the courage to do justice, inspired a discussion of homelessness with adults and youth and led to a food and clothing drive.
The pastor also reports that he learned "our adult population loves to be read to if it's a children's book." But this is something I already knew.
Picture books are a literary art form appreciated by all ages!
Thursday, July 28, 2016
One thing about being a writer, you never know what might show up in your inbox that will make you smile.
See this recent email from a teacher in Australia:
Many people ask me should they read books about the Refugee Experience and to students from Refugee backgrounds- my answer is ‘ask your students’. I have not had a class to date say no- the students enjoy making connections and telling part of their story.
I read Four Feet Two Sandals to a secondary class of New Arrival Students, all but one of the class members was from a refugee background. At the end of the lesson a year 8 boy from Afghanistan came up to me with the book up under his shirt- he wanted the book close to his heart.
The boy thanked me for reading the book and said that he was happy because the book let him know that others understand his journey. He asked to take the book home and read it to his family that night. His family were delighted that in a way their story was captured for other to read and understand- and that someone (the would be you Karen) cared enough to tell their story.
Thanks too to Khadra Mohammed who coauthored this book.
More than ever I am hearing from teachers, librarians, ministers, readers and parents from around the world.
It is exciting to know that my books speak to readers in a meaningful way especially now in a world where so many are looking for a safe, welcoming place to call home.
It is also sad that this story touches so many.
And it is gratifying to connect. To know that one 8 year old child from Afghanistan holds my book close to his heart.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
English as a Second Language Institute.
Stories are a part of who we are!
It was a pleasure to part of this important program with dedicated teachers and students.
The English as a Second Language Institute uniquely provides administrators, classroom teachers, and ESL teachers with a critical understanding of how schools can take proactive steps at bridging the achievement gap as it relates to linguistically and culturally diverse learners.
The 2016 ESL Institute a week long cultural exploration of our immigrant, refugee, and migrant populations in the United States. In order to educate our new families we need to understand their native cultures. Not only will we enjoy knowledgeable guest speakers but we will also have the opportunity to interact with ELL children and their families. Students will:
Thursday, June 9, 2016
This makes my day! Makes me want to dance. Fills me with joy.
I think I will go listen again!
Check out the music and short video written and produced by school Terry Hess.
Here is what she has to say about the production:
I was truly inspired by your wonderful book. My elementary music classes looked at the illustrations, and then assisted in coming up with the sentences, as the book was read to them. Your book was highlighted at King throughout Lower School, as required reading:)Keeniun Brunskill who is the male singer, is an African American History teacher who was also a part of the fundraising campaign for Haiti.
Some kids are just so lucky to have the best teachers! Authors are just so lucky to have the best readers.
Thanks Terry and readers at King Lower School! And now I am going to play this again, again and do a little dance!
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Lena and Feroza are in Sweden!
Sometimes your characters get to go places you have never been!
Who knows? There's still time... meanwhile I will revel in the possibilities, new readers and new friends. Around the world, across cultures and language.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Some of you may be too young to know this but this is how you used to check a book out of the library. Catalog cards. They were still in use when my first books were published. As libraries around the country began to transition to computerized catalogs they discarded the cards.
By the time I realized there would never be a library catalog card for my books again, it was too late. I kept looking inside of books from libraries, asking librarians to save them for me if they came across one. Nothing. After a while I forgot to look. Forgot about those special cards that tracked books in libraries. An amazing system really.
The bad news is that some of my books are out of print. OOP in publishing lingo. The good news is I can still find some of them on line, used and almost new. I recently ordered a copy of When Africa was Home on line. It was a library edition.
The other bad news? Some libraries are weeding out some of my books.
The good news is there was a pocket in the back of that book and inside that pocket was a card!
I am going to frame that pocket and card and put it on the wall of my office. Most of my books are still in libraries. I know, because when I go to a library I check. The unexpected most rewarding part of publishing a book for this writer is to see it on the library shelf and with this little card I can see it has been checked out and when I look at that framed card I will remember that I have books in libraries.
Who knows, maybe someday that little card will be valuable...but probably not.
But it will remind me of the good old days browsing through card catalogs at the library.