Today we’d like to share what we are grateful for as children’s writers. So, I asked the Mixed-Up Files contributors to write a little about what they are thankful for as authors. Hope you enjoy our thoughts.
“I’m thankful for the kidlit community. I’ve been in other writing communities and kidlit creators are the best. They’re like family, supporting each other and encouraging. We have a higher purpose, in creating books that are going to make children readers for life, and I’m thankful that we do that together.”
—Samantha M Clark, author of ARROW and the GEMSTONE DRAGONS books
Image: Tarpon Springs Public Library, Tarpon Springs, FL via tarponlibrary.org
I’m grateful for…. public libraries
My most powerful—and most wonderful—memories around books are thanks to public libraries.
For years, each Saturday, my mother and I would walk to the public library near our apartment, climb the
stairs to the children’s section on the second floor, and I’d pick out a stack of books to read for the week. Like the greatest shopping trip ever, where the only limiting factor was how much we could carry. Then there was that one long, hot, un-airconditioned summer in Florida, where I lived with my father, where I worked through the local library’s very small “YA” shelf of books. I stumbled over a novel I’d never heard of before, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, my favorite book of my middle-grade reading years by a mile.
Reading has been a constant companion and source of joy and comfort in my life. So thank you, libraries and librarians, for all that you do for your communities.
“When my last MG manuscript failed to garner the attention (I thought) it deserved, I fell into a dark hole of despair. Then I did what many writers do when faced with existential burnout. I stopped writing.
But then, last summer, while I clearing out my mom’s apartment, I found a black garbage bag inside a kitchen drawer. I peeked inside and discovered a trove of letters. My letters—hundreds of them—written to my parents from sleepaway camp. Naturally, I made myself comfortable and started reading.
Hours later, I knew I had found the inspiration for my next book. I didn’t know what the book would be about at this point, but I knew I had some first-rate material. I grabbed my notebook and started writing.
Four months later, I had a first draft. I sent it to my agent, who responded: “Whenever a burned-out writer gets their second wind and writes a great novel, an angel gets their wings.”
My agent’s words made me glow from within. I found my second wind—and I’m grateful for it, wherever it may lead me.”
“I’m grateful to be able to write while cuddling a kitty on my lap and looking at beautiful trees. It may sound simple, but the deep peace of this space helps free my
mind to create.”
—Heather Murphy Capps
“I’m grateful for amazing teachers like Ms. Klipfel who encourage and inspire their kids to use STEMbooks to explore their imagination! Go STEM/STEAM!”
“I’m so grateful for all the support my debut novel Honey and Me is receiving from friends, family, the wider communities I’m a part of and the ones I didn’t even know about. Thank you!”
“I’m grateful for book events with local and national authors. They give me a reason to celebrate books, meet and talk with local authors, and discover new authors and their books. It’s inspiring and fills me with motivation to be surrounded by such talented writers.”
—Karen Latchana Kenney
We are also all thankful for YOU—our wonderful readers!
Karen Latchana Kenney writes books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Born in Guyana, she moved to Minnesota at a young age. Now she's a full-time children's author and editor who lives in Minnetonka with her husband and son. Visit her online at http://latchanakenney.wordpress.com.
In today’s Author Spotlight, Jo Hackl chats with author Landra Jennings about her new middle-grade novel, Wand (Clarion Books, October 31). She’ll share her inspiration behind writing it, the works of literature that influenced it,...
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
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