I’ve always shied away from competition. As a child, this wasn’t hard. Though I loved to swim at the town beach and to play baseball in the street with the other neighborhood kids (our mailbox was first base), there was never a chance of being on a real, competitive team. That was for boys only. (When I recently said this during a school visit, hundreds of little jaws dropped–whaaaat? It made me very happy that they couldn’t fathom such a benighted world.) Once in a while I’d win a class spelling bee, which was satisfying, but I hated the sweaty palms and racing heart that went with it.
My daughters were different. They were–they are–excellent runners, and they competed in track and cross country. As much as I wanted to cheer them on, I could barely stand to watch. I remember hiding behind trees on the cross country course, afraid to look as the runners pounded by. It’s ridiculous. I can’t even watch the Cavs play their post season games, I get so nervous and distraught. (For the record, let me say how proud I am that they reached the finals, no matter what happens. See? Bad at competition.)
It’s different with my books, thank goodness. Yes, I would love to see them all receive awards (they’re kind of like my children, after all). But my biggest wish for them is to be read. And so I’m grateful and excited when they become finalists for prizes, because it means that more kids, teachers and librarians will get to know and, I hope, love them. Recently, two of the CODY books have been recognized.
CODY AND THE RULES OF LIFE is up for the Nutmeg Award, which young readers all across Connecticut get to vote on and choose. And CODY AND THE MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE is a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award, chosen by a panel of librarians and educators. They’re both nominated along with many other stellar books for young readers. It’s an enormous honor and thrill to be in their company. It makes my heart skip, but in a good, happy way. Writing is not a race.