Tuesday, November 22, 2016
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 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
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.
And now? She is married and has a baby girl.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure she gets your note.
Beatrice wants you all to keep dreaming!
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.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
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)
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)
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)
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 www.NatGen.org
See the list here: http://www.natgen.org/spotlight/2016-green-earth-book-award-shortlist-announced/
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Think about a donation.
. 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 https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/operationread/
If you would like to support their environmental initiative, please visit
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
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.