On February 14, Valentine’s Day, from New England to the Pacific Northwest, children’s authors, illustrators, and the young readers who love them are coming together. It’s Kids Love Authors Day, and to show how we love them back, we’ll be reading and talking and signing books. Wherever you live, check with your local independent bookstore to see if they have joined the celebration. I will be In Seattle at Santoro’s Bookstore in the Greenwood neighborhood at 11 AM. If you live nearby, come and see me.
My new computer—that’s what’s new. It’s a Mac laptop, like my old one, only newer and faster and prettier. The only problem is that I can’t figure it out. I can’t set margins or get rid of funky formatting or manage my bookmarks. I have this strange little box with blue arrows that appears on all my new documents and I can’t get rid of it. What I need is a fifth grader to come and tell me what to do. Instead next week I will go talk to the Geniuses (that’s what they call themselves) at the Apple Store in Seattle. I have a long list of questions and problems and issues. I still wish there was a fifth grader handy. I am getting excited about my newest book, Will Sparrow’s Road, and I am anxious to get him in and out of trouble, to watch him change and grow, but I can’t until I make it up and write it down. Which I can’t do because I can’t work my new computer. Where is a fifth grader when you really need one? Mine is all grown up and living in Portland.
Wow. I have just finished reading Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, appropriately on the very day Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. Both the book and the occasion are moving and magnificent.
I thought I knew a lot about the history of this country but the story Laurie tells was new to me. How we suffered to become a free and independent country, and how long it has taken us to grant independence and freedom to all our citizens.
Chains has won numerous awards, and many of you have already read it. For those who haven’t, let me say that thirteen-year-old Isabel is a slave in Revolutionary War New York who dreams of freedom. Betrayed by both sides, she discovers that her loyalties lie not with politics or armies but with those she loves. Isabel must be dancing with joy today. I know I am.
Yes, we can.