Hear ye! Hear ye! It’s Monday and that means it’s time for #AuthorAcrostics. You’re probably getting the hang of this now, but I’m privileged to have the fabulous Nandini Bajpai here today. Please enjoy her fun acrostic and check out here website here
I know this is a big week, and most people are eagerly awaiting other news in this country. That said, I hope you’ll take the time to check out this week’s #AuthorAcrostics with my friend, Josh Funk. His books are so contagiously silly, we all become kids when we read them. Check out his website here.
So long ago. So far away. Almost in another galaxy. Well, at least in the pre-Covid year of 2010, I met my agent at a small workshop in Somerville, MA. That meeting led to a trusted relationship and to the publication of several picture book manuscripts. I’m forever grateful to Ammi-Joan Paquette, both her positivity and her patience. As it turns out, she is pretty good with acrostics, too! You may find more about her books here.
Long before her first book, Baby Moon, was published or even accepted, I met Hayley Barrett. Actually, long before she shared my same agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. Even then, I knew Hayley was going places. Why? Because she has the art of generosity down pat. She gives of herself and her talents without asking for anything in return. It has been my privilege to see that generosity rewarded in abundance. If you would like to learn more about Hayley and her lovely books, look right here!
It is a special day when Lynda Mullaly Hunt stops by as my guest for #AuthorAcrostics. I often say “I knew Lynda when…,” meaning I knew her before her first book sale, back when she ran the Whispering Pines retreat. Lynda attended my first book-signing for my first picture book, My Sister, Alicia May, back in 2009. Well, guess what? She’s the same easy-going, kind-hearted person after becoming a New York Times bestseller as she was beforehand. But you probably knew that already. Hope you enjoy Lynda’s words on this page. You can link to her website here.
I’m excited to share this week’s Author Acrostic with you. A big note of thanks to Rajani LaRocca for joining in. You may find out more about my friend and her work here, in the meantime look at this fun acrostic that she made!
Recently a librarian from the Children’s Day School in San Francisco shared the feedback that many of her students wrote after reading The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful. I’ve been smiling ever since because of their kind words and insight into this story. They also shared some pictures of the dragons they imagined. I hope these Kindergarteners and First Graders inspire you as well! I’m now blessed to have an online visit with them scheduled for June. Can’t wait!
“I liked that…at first they thought that they had to frighten the dragon, but then they realized that the dragon just wanted something – that it didn’t mean to be frightening.” Arcadia
“Your story is very good. I like your story a lot because it has dragons and I like dragons.” Max
“I like the parts where Mei helps Wei. Thank you for sharing your story with us!” Zaina
“I appreciate the author for being really nice to write this story!” Aaron
“One thing I liked about the story was that one of the sisters helped the other sister!! Thank you for sharing your story with us!!” Riley
“It was a cool story and nice. They act dis-alike: One’s scared and one likes to fight and they both were brave at the end.” Yahli
“The sisters worked together as a team and didn’t give up until they did it. I like the details of the story and the handwriting. It was just so joyful to hear that story!” Rohan
“One of the things I like about your story is the part when Wei went to Kung Fu class. I also like the pictures!” Malinteotl
“It was funny when you said the sticky buns for the dragon” Kalyani
“They’re both really brave because, well, Mei at the beginning thought she was NOT brave but she actually IS brave.” Lisana
“The Yin-Yang sisters are similar because they’re both very brave. I liked your story because the people are really brave.” Kalyani
“I appreciate Nancy Tupper Ling because the two sisters kept on trying. The brave one actually made the dragon feel better and the really brave one tried her very best – and they kept on trying until they got it!” Vera
“What I liked about the story was that they may be opposites but sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and do what your fears are. I was really scared to go on these swings and I went on there . . . I just took a deep breath and went on there.” Parker
It’s been a bit daunting, this new world of COVID-19. As difficult and overwhelming as it’s been, however, there has been an amazing outpouring of goodness from the world of libraries and authors.
While my spring school visits have been canceled, I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to still “meet” with children and families online.
I had one visit with my coworker, Ms Kate, from the Morrill Memorial Library. You may find that conversation here
Likewise, I was able to lead a Double Happiness poetry workshop online that Kate Messner posted on her blog
I hope you find a little time in the midst of this chaos, to nurture your writing and your self.
September 18th, Book Birthday, Putnam Books for Young Readers, The Yin-Yang Sisters and Frightful the Dragon
September 22nd, 10:30 am, The Boston Athenaeum
September 28th, 6-8 pm, nErDy Author Night, Freeport, ME
September 29th, 1:30 pm, Children’s Book Reading Feat, Gordon College Bookstore, Wenham, MA
October 13th, 11 am, Book Launch Party, The Blue Bunny Bookstore, Dedham, MA
October 27th, 11 am, Story Time, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA
November 16th, NCTE 18, Houston TX 12:30-1:45 pm, presenting on a panel “The Power of Quiet: Helping Introverts (Quietly) Speak Up” with four other awesome authors: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, Erin Entrada Kelly, Nancy Tupper Ling, and Tamara Smith. 3:30 pm, Signing at the Penguin Booth on the exhibit floor.
November 24th, Book Signing, Annie’s Book Stop, Worcester, MA
Funny thing! My Dad told me this a lot growing up: “Go ahead! It never hurts to ask!” As a shy child, I wasn’t so sure. Secretly I hoped things would work out on their own so I wouldn’t need to say a word. Requesting information, like “how much does that movie cost” or “where do you shelve the toilet paper,” took a monumental dose of bravery on my part. I am the model child for Susan Cain’s book Quiet.
Whether we like it or not, life provides opportunities to stretch ourselves, even on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t stick my head into books all the time as a librarian. I am called to be social and help our patrons. Likewise a big part of my day is spent answering patrons’ questions, which means asking a few of my own. And, as I’ve discovered, asking the right question at the right time can sometimes bring surprising results.
Case in point, several years ago I asked a question that changed my life. For years I’d submitted my poetry to June Cotner’s anthologies. When several of my poems first appeared in Baby Blessings, I was over the moon. After that first acceptance, June and I began corresponding regularly and she soon became my mentor in so many ways.
Then in the summer of 2012 I discovered I’d be heading from Boston to Seattle for a writer’s retreat. At last June and I were to meet in person!
Before my trip June happened to mention that she was overwhelmed with work because her assistant had recently moved away. Without hesitation, I asked the simplest of questions: “June, is there any little thing I can do to help you from the East Coast?” I thought I might assist her by reading a few of the many submissions she receives regularly.
I was completely shocked by her answer. “Well Nancy, how would you like to coauthor a book together?”
I don’t think anything could have knocked my socks off more. I could barely reply with a “Wow!” and a “Really?” and yet my travels to Seattle began a new phase in our relationship. We were becoming coauthors! Of course, that initial question was followed by many more. What project should we work on first? How should I gather entries to our anthology? Who would we submit our proposal to?
As it turns out, Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion was our first book together. June graciously walked me through every step of the way. While I’d written poetry and children’s books before, this was a whole new experience for me. I had so much to learn. What am I talking about? I am still learning.
This New Year’s Day we signed a contract with Andrews McMeel for our second co-authored book entitled Family Celebrations, and thanks to the fabulous work of our agent, Anne Marie O’Farrell (Marcil-O’Farrell Literary LLC), we are excited to say our first children’s anthology, For Every Little Thing, has been accepted by Eerdman’s Publishing. On top of that, we have co-authored a children’s manuscript called Be Creative that my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency) is shopping around.
Yes, I have to say, I find that I am pinching myself on a regular basis these days. Could this all be real? It is hard to believe this long and winding road to publication is part of this shy girl’s journey. To think it all began with a question, or maybe two or three. What do you think about that?