Friday, May 6, 2016

Look what I found!

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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

April means Earth Day and Geen Earth Book Awards: Circles of Hope

April 22 is Earth Day.  What better to celebrate than with the Green Earth Book Awards?  Circles of Hope was a winner in 2006. 

The award given by The Nature Generation is meant to help inspire Environmental Stewardship.  Circles of Hope is in the company of a selection of wonderful, inspiring and important books for children.  The list includes Picture books, fiction, non-fiction, Chapter books and Young Adult in a list of award winning books since 2005.

The short listed books for the 2016 awards  on Earth Day have been chosen. 

See the list here.  And go to The Nature Generation for their entire list of award winners. 

Get Reading and Sharing.  Encourage Stewardship of our earth.  Plan your celebration for Earth Day.

Young Adult Fiction
A 52-Hertz Whale, written by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman (Carolrhoda Lab™ - Lerner Publishing Group)
The Beast of Cretacea, written by Todd Strasser (Candlewick Press)

Children’s Fiction
Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue, written and illustrated by Paige Braddock (Andrews McMeel Publishing, Inc.)
Sydney & Simon Go Green!, written by Paul A. Reynolds and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Charlesbridge)
The Neptune Challenge, written by Polly Holyoke (Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group)
The Order of the Trees, written by Katy Farber (Green Writers Press)
The Thing About Jellyfish, written by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Picture Book
Crane Boy, written by Diana Cohn and illustrated by Youme (Cinco Puntos Press)
The Hornless Rhinoceros, written and illustrated by Robin W. Radcliffe (Living Fossil Productions)
The Seeds of Friendship, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Candlewick Press)
The Stranded Whale, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (Candlewick Press)
Toad Weather, written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez (Peachtree Publishers)

Children’s Nonfiction
Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue, written by Karen Romano Young and Daniel Raven-Ellison (National Geographic Society)
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Millbrook Press)
Trash Talk:  Moving Towards a Zero-Waste World, written by Michelle Mulder (Orca Book Publishers)
Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, written by Anita Silvey (National Geographic Society)
What's the Buzz:  Keeping Bees in Flight, written by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox (Orca Book Publishers)

 “Since 2004, we have recognized over 136 books Green Earth Book Award winner and honor books that inspire our youth to protect the planet.  We are proud to promote these books through our reading and donation programs and see first-hand how kids learn about the environment through these beautifully-written books,” said Amy Marasco Newton, founder and president of The Nature Generation.   
The Nature Generation is an environmental non-profit that inspires and empowers youth to make a difference through innovative environmental stewardship programs in literature, science, and the arts. It relies on the generous donations of individuals and partner organizations, like Luck Companies, to implement its programs and create outdoor classrooms that benefit our environment and provide stewardship and educational opportunities for all ages.  NatGen thanks the Sustainable Partners whose contributions support its mission: Acorn Financial, Booz Allen Hamilton, The Cadmus Group, Chartis, The Council Oak, CSRA, Dominion, Kelly Drye Warren LLP, Luck Companies, Middleburg Bank, PPC, Salisbury University, and Tetra Tech.  For more information, visit

See the list here:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Look what they are Reading in Zambia!

Check out this program!

Think about a donation.

Hard to resist!

. ProjectEDUCATE does some amazing work and we need your help to help ensure they continue to do so.

 No donation is too small and all contributions are tax-deductible. It is a great cause and you will be helping educate children in some of the poorest communities in the world. To learn more and donate please visit

 If you would like to support their environmental initiative, please visit

 Thank you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Honored To Have My Poem Included.

 As a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards I was asked to contribute to this lovely journal.

Who knew judging could be so difficult?

Six young poets, all ages.  Several submitting more than one poem.  All meaningful and well crafted.  A joy to read.

And I read them over many times.  Tried to be objective, even made a kind of grid for scoring different elements of the poems. 

But heart enters into all of it, the writing and the judging.  That is the beauty.

And here is my contribution to this years journal.  An honor to be included.  A diverse collection and lovely presentation.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reflecting: A Real Christmas This Year

I often find myself thinking back on years gone by this time of year...reflecting.  I also find myself sometimes wishing I had a blockbuster holiday book...any holiday would do.  One that comes out every year, say with a new cover, one that is a classic, part of the (in this case) Christmas tradition.

Well guess what?  I do have a Christmas book!  It was published in 1998 (around then I think) and it is out of print (this I definitely know for sure).  You can find it on Amazon though.  Just so you know.

Funny thing is I did not write this book as a Christmas book.  Yes!  Christmas is in the book.  So are a lot of other things.  A girl, Megan, and her handicapped brother, her family and a friend for starters.  And yes she does hope for "a real Christmas this year" (read that as normal).  But she also struggles with having a family member who is handicapped ( a little like me growing up but not the same). And she begins to realize that she might not be alone with her problems(a new friend, a boy,  has a sister who goes to the same school as her brother ).

I happened to go to Google to check on my Christmas titled book and see what is happening.  (It's not a bad idea to check up on your orphaned books once in a while).

Well the reviews are pretty great.  The teacher who reads it to her class every year.  Each student loved this book.  A tremendous ending.  Wow!

They got me thinking, remembering, even made me a little weepy.

 Made me remember the people who contacted me when that book came out and told me how much it meant to them.

By the end of the book Megan does get a special Christmas, her whole family does(she helps make it happen).   Not real or normal (whatever that is).  But special.  That's not a spoiler, just a tease. 

So I reflect (with the help of Google). I do have a good little book there.  Not a Christmas blockbuster.  Maybe not even a Christmas book.  A book that resonates with readers..makes them laugh...and cry. 

An all year 'round book with some Christmas magic.

A little reflection can go a long way.  My hope for my readers is for some time to reflect over the holidays.  I hope you, like Megan, find something special and maybe even a little magic...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Grateful to get it write(right).

A writer writes what she knows from her life, her own experiences.  She writes with passion and honesty.

If she gets it right she hopes she will connect with even one reader.

She is grateful when she does.  It is remarkable that our lives can intersect so profoundly with people we have never even met.

This week I had this note from a reader.  I am grateful that I got it right and grateful that she let me know.  Lovely that she contacted me during this season of Thanks.

This little book out of print and still brings joy to readers and to me.

I have always wondered what your experiences were that inspired you to write "When Africa Was Home." When curiosity finally led me to stumble across your website and bio, I felt like I should share with you how much your book has meant to me and my family.

My parents were missionaries in a remote area of Papua New Guinea. My sisters and I all grew up there and it was and is still our home. My mom tells us that when she first read a worn and tattered copy of your book one night in a missionary guest house, she finally understood what it was like for us kids. Every time that we went to visit America her and my Dad were going to their home, but we were leaving ours.

Ever since then your book has been a cherished book in our house. My sisters and I read it over and over again as children because it was the only book that told the story of our lives. Every experience that Peter had, we had. I remember my mom telling us about how we had to wear shoes in America, and that we could not longer eat with our hands. In America we played indoors, and there weren't any trees to climb. In your book. The first time that I heard a vacuum in America I leaped on my bed to get away from it.

Thank you for writing your book and telling our story.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful for Diversity in my Life

Counting my blessings and shamelessly self promoting!

Check out this video discussion about books for children about refugees featuring Four Feet Two Sandals and My Name is Sangoel.

Coffee Break Confidential: Refugee Revelations
Posted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. on November 19, 2015 in Coffee Break Confidential, Eerdfolk | 1 Comment

And the interview with yours truly.

Happy Thanksgiving!