Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman

Newbery award-winning children’s book author

Karen Cushman

Rejection and Persistance

Read Across AmericaYesterday I celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday with a group of first, second, and third graders at Chautauqua Elementary School here on Vashon Island. I had never spoken to such young people before and I was surprised at what good readers and writers they were. Aziza, Lily, and Madeleine read me from their historical novel set in World War 1 starring a soldier named Jim and a cat named Jimmy. Then River and Olivia read. And we talked about persistence: the ability to keep going when you are unsure about what you’re writing, when your confidence disappears, when no else thinks it’s any good (Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers!) When I was writing Catherine Called Birdy, people told me that no one was interested in history, that it was hard to publish books about girls, that no publisher wanted a first novel. But I kept going anyway—not because I was confident or sure but because I was persistent. I wanted to know what happened to Birdy, I wanted to tell the rest of the story, I wanted to finish. So I did. Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss. Thank you for the example.

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