To: The Women's National Book Association/LA Chapter
and the Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation
In the middle of drafting The Girl Who Threw Butterflies it occurred to me that I may be writing a book that absolutely no one—no one!—would want to read: not boys, because the protagonist is a girl; not girls, because the sport of baseball plays a big part in the story. But it was too late by then: the story and its characters had by that time thoroughly seized my heart and inhabited by imagination, and I was going to write the book no matter what, even if it was destined to disappear into some kind of marketing black hole.
That the book was published at all, much less so beautifully and now honored with a Judy Lopez Memorial Award, leaves me feeling pleasantly stunned. When I was a boy, growing up amidst a certain amount of hardship and confusion, books and reading offered me companionship and hope, food for my soul and spirit. To think that I may have put a book on the shelf that may offer a young reader today something similar—that pleases me more than I can easily say.
I am deeply grateful to all those who believed in the book, especially my agent, Jay Mandel of William Morris Enterprise, and my wonderful editor at Knopf, Erin Clarke. I am grateful to Canisius College for its support and to my family and friends for their faith and encouragement. I am grateful to the Women’s National Book Association and to librarians and teachers everywhere, for all they do to champion reading and to put books in the hands of young readers who need them. You’re my heroes. Thank you.