Thursday, March 2, 2017


You see this letter about Sangoel?  It was written on October 25, 2016.  This reader likes the part about how Sangoel writes his name in rebus on his shirt.  "I think it was a creative solution."   I love it!  I did write back.  But I have not posted anything in a long time.  Recent events have dragged me down.  FB can be a scary place.  The whole internet, the world too.

But the sun is out and the sky is blue, completely blue.  Not a cloud.  And kids are reading.  and responding.  And believe it or not I am still writing.

Recent works in progress include picture books about Albert Schweitzer,  and the environment.  I cannot let go of my passions so I am also working on two more books about refugees.  One is coauthored by a young woman who was herself a refugee.

I am getting more response to my books about refugees than ever before.  It is great that kids and teachers and parents and librarians are reading.  It is sad that this subject needs to be addressed.  But I am pleased to be a small part of the dialogue for our most important readers.

And the reviews are good too.  Here are a few recent blogs you should check out.  Not just because they praise my books but there are many other good books mentioned too.  Important books that need to be heard.

Read and Write.  It is one way I know to connect and share and maybe make a little difference in a difficult  world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How Did I Miss This! Thankful For The Recognition!

Four Feet Two Sandals mentioned in the Fall 2016 Bulletin  of SCBWI!  The Journal of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator.

In an Article Picturing Immigrants and Refugees Four Feet two Sandals is mentioned as on of "A few recent standouts that demonstrate the range and richness of contemporary immigrant picture books".

Always thankful for the recognition.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

And This Just in From Sweden

And this just in from the publicist for Four Feet Two Sandals:

A piece of happy news:  Afghanistannytt, the journal of a Swedish charity called Afghanistankommittén (may sound small but in fact it's very established -- I've heard that they're the largest employer in Afghanistan because of their many schools, health centers etc), has a full page on Four feet, two sandals.

They asked a well-known children's author and activist, Monica Zak, to interview a 13-year-old girl in a small town about the book.

She fled with her family from Afghanistan at age 10 and is now 13. She says she'll bring the book to school because everybody should read it!

This makes me smile!


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beatrice's Dream: Where is Beatrice now?

Many readers write and ask about Beatrice.  Where is she now?

 So here is an update with Beatrice's permission.

Through hard work and perseverance, Beatrice graduated from college with a degree in the service industry. 
She got a job!

And now?  She is married and has a baby girl.  

Meet Ariel!

Beatrice continues to work and to dream.  She hopes to continue her education and see where her dreams take her.

If you want to send your best wishes to Beatrice you can email it to me  and I will make sure she gets your note.

Beatrice wants you all to keep dreaming!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Galimoto in Malawi! Full Circle.

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.

This program run by volunteers from England, teachers starting community lending libraries will also establish reading circles to encourage adults to read out loud to children.  "They love Galimoto"  teachers report. 

The children of Malawi inspired the book now the book is inspiring reading in Malawi.  Full circle!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Picture Books Are for Everyone!

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

A Shout Out From Australia: Close to the Heart of A Refugee.

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.