Today at the pool I saw a girl (with Dottie-red hair) reading “What Happened on Fox Street”. I flew back to the summer I was writing it, when I’d come to the pool after hours at my desk, to swim my laps and ponder Mo and Mercedes and Dottie and Da. Crawl-backstroke-crawl, hearing their voices, puzzling over who they were and what they wanted–once I climbed out of the water to grab a (dry) kickboard and use it as a lap desk to scribble some notes (never go anywhere, even swimming, without paper and pen). That summer, as I swam up and down, back and forth, day after day, the book was still a secret dream belonging only to me.
And now to see it, held tight in two small hands, a real book out in the world! It startled me. It was as if Mo Wren and her story had always existed, as if she’d just been waiting, between the sunbeams, on the sparkling surface of the water, to be made visible. Now her story belongs to that red-haired reader, too. Happiness and gratitude flooded through me.