I began this blog in 2010, when What Happened on Fox Street first came out. Since then, I’ve published three more middle grade novels, four chapter books, two picture books, and I have a new middle grade in the works for next year.
Those are wonderful numbers! But in the end, they are only numbers, and they can’t even begin to quantify the joy, gratitude and SURPRISE I feel every time I’m lucky enough to see one of my stories go out into the world. Joy because I’ve put my heart on paper, gratitude because so many people–agent, editors, illustrators, marketing staff– have helped make my words real, and SURPRISE because each time the experience feels new.
New, AKA exciting and terrifying. Sending a little book out into the world is always an unknown, and never more than now, with our poor world battered on every side. Will readers find it? Will it make any difference in their lives? Does it matter at all?
Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures is about many things–the power of language to connect, the treasures beneath our own feet, and– very important–chocolate cake. But friendship is at its heart. Friendship–a gift we’re never too old or young to give and to receive. Khalil and Mr. Hagerty are very different fellows, yet they enrich one another’s lives in ways neither could have predicted. I like to think that the story goes on beyond the last page: children who read it will want to delight someone else with a secret gift of kindness.
I’ll be writing more about how this book came to be, and how teachers can use it in the classroom, but for now I’ll just say, Welcome, little book! Spread your light!