To: The Women's National Book Association/LA Chapter
and the Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation
I wish I were with you today! I am sorry that my previous commitment has prevented me from meeting you all face-to-face. But please know that I am overjoyed that you have chosen One Came Home as an honor book for the Judy Lopez Memorial Book Award. Right now, there is a big grin on my face!
As a writer, you hope to find readers for your writing. This is an easier task if your reader has a credit card and the right to use it. But middle grade readers? Middle grade readers are kids who come in contact with books through librarians, teachers, parents and those crazy aunts and uncles who insist on giving books at holidays. (By the way, I'm one of those aunts, and proud of it.)
My husband remarks time and time again about how odd it is that every book I manage to publish is always one step (or maybe, three steps) away from its intended reader. Adults chose the manuscripts that become books. Adults write the reviews and read them (for the most part). But then, somewhere along the line, comes that moment when an adult tells a particular kid about a particular book that is "something they might like to read." And -- voila'! -- a reader is found.
So that's you. Each one of you is vital to the success of a good book for kids. I know you're here because you take your charge seriously. Today, I know what you'll do – you'll go home with a few of these kids books! Yeah, some of them you'll read yourself. (Hey, a good story is a good story, right?) But then, you will bring a book to a kid. You will hold that book out and say "Take a look at this. Tell me what you think, okay?" And the kid will take the book into their hands.
Thank you so much for honoring One Came Home, and thank you again and again for all your work putting books in the hands of young readers. It's good, good work, and I'm grateful for each of you!