I just saw these beautiful sketches over at Emily Hughes’ Instagram page, and couldn’t resist posting. Aren’t they great? So curious to see what we end up with, for the final cover?
Recently, someone asked me about alternatives to “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” as a gift for kids graduating from Kindergarten or Pre-K, and I turned the question over to my friends, who provided a variety of wonderful options.
But then I found myself wanting to write my own version. So here it is. Rough and dirty. The meter needs work for sure, and I’ll probably end up slashing and revising it, if I do anything with it at all, but I never post to the blog anymore, so I thought I’d do that.
Enjoy! (and apologies if this isn’t to your liking). I don’t mean it for everyone. It’s MY story, rooted in my current moment, which is specific to me.
Oh, the Things You’ll Become…
A book for your darling child
Oh, sweet darling child,
So winsome, so wild,
I look in your eyes and behold…
All the ways you will grow,
All the things you will know,
You’ll be tall. You’ll be smart. And so bold!
Your soft sleepy gazes,
And generous smiles will please.
Each curious question,
And daring suggestion,
Will help you dream mountains and seas.
Until… one fine day
You will glance down my way.
And my heart will be filled with such pride.
But you’ll grunt and then moan,
“Mom, just leave me alone!”
As you stomp to your room, where you’ll hide.
Oh, the things you’ll become!
Kinda mean. Kinda dumb.
At the same time standoffish and needy.
Of course I’ll still love you,
But I’ll want to shove you.
Because you’ll be whiny and greedy.
You might also smell.
As your head starts to swell.
You will torture your poor little brother.
When you don’t get a car,
You will tell us we are,
The most horrible father and mother.
Then we’ll sigh and we’ll freak,
We’ll feel worried all week
And we’ll anxiously, nervously pray.
We’ll stay up each night.
We’ll get tipsy and tight.
Though it won’t take our troubles away.
You’ll move out, and we’ll write,
Now that you’re out of sight.
You’ll ignore us and turn off the phone.
And when we catch you,
You’ll have “things” to go do,
We’ll pretend to have “things” of our own.
But you know what, sweet child,
Though the ride will be wild,
We’ll savor each mile with you.
Because as you grow,
We’ll grow too, dontcha know?
We’ll be better for all we go through.
I refuse to pretend
That you’ll be my best friend
If you hate me sometimes, that’s all right.
Nobody will ever
Mean more to me. Never.
I’ll be here when you need a fight.
Oh the things you’ll become.
Kinda mean, kinda dumb.
Kinda monstrous sometimes, and I’m proud.
That you’re fierce and you’re real.
And you know how to feel.
You’ll be honest, and live life out loud.
For years I’ve been dreaming up a picture book class, and now it’s a reality! Soooo excited about The Decatur Writers’ Studio.
“Picture books are perhaps the most inventive popular literary form we have, and that’s exciting! You can do ANYTHING in a picture book, if you do it well enough. But that makes it hard to know where to begin, and how to proceed. Picture books aren’t just about telling a story or teaching a lesson. They’re about capturing a voice or character in a few short words, collaborating with visual space, considering the way children truly think, and sculpting words and sounds to leave a deep and lasting impression. Picture books are poetry, even when they don’t feel like it.”
Join us for The Wild Rumpus!
But it happens to be THAT weekend. The BIG weekend for kidlit folks. ALA Midwinter. So I dashed over here to get my own choices for the big awards on the record.
For Newbery… there’s no question in my mind but that Rebecca Stead deserves the medal again. I didn’t love Goodbye Stranger as much as When You Reach Me, but I thought it was the most unusual and well written middle grade book I read this year. I’m especially interested in seeing more upper middle grade books in the world, and I felt like this book managed the true voice of that “tween” age deftly.
For Caldecott, my money is on Waiting. I HATE that this is the case. I think I’ve made it pretty clear how I feel about the lack of female illustrators being awarded the medal. But I fell hard for Kevin Henkes’ newest book. It’s just a perfect quiet picture book. So, there we are. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.
But of course there are any number of amazing women in the mix too, and I’d love to see some medal-love shining from Emily Hughes’ The Little Gardener.
Or Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper.
Or Sophie Blackall’s Finding Winnie.
And for Printz? I don’t read a ton of YA, so I’m limited in my ability to evaluate, but the YA book I loved most this year was X, by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon. There was a special sort of magic to this book– it walked a line, including “edgy” material in a way that I almost felt my third and fourth grade boys could handle. The tone is amazing, a sort of headlong dash. I loved it.
So there we are. I won’t make predictions, because the ALA evaluation process is so mysterious and bewildering, and I’m ALWAYS WRONG. But these are the books I’d be arguing for, if I sat on those committees.
And hats off to the people who do!
Now, what about YOU? What are your favorites of 2015?? Tell me why I’m wrong.
I’ve been sick the last week, but I’m nursing myself with ginger and lemon and cayenne and meds, because I MUST get on that plane to Minneapolis. I’d love to see you there! Either at my signing at the Chronicle book, on 11/20 from 2-3, or at my panel that morning…
The Power of Passion Driven Research
Deb Perryman, Jennifer Vincent, Kate Messner, Laura Purdie Salas, LeUyen Pham, and ME!
FRIDAY 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM in Minneapolis Convention Center, L100E
|From baseball to ballet, Minecraft to marshmallows, favorite topics paired with authentic research opportunities unlock a love of learning in students. Two educators, three authors, and an illustrator share experiences with passion-driven research in and out of the classroom that promotes creativity, motivation, and engagement.|
As you may know, this has become a tradition for me. Inspired by the historical gender bias of the Caldecott award, I first complied my list (with YOUR help) in 2013. Molly Idle was on it (HUZZAH!), but though she took home an honor at ALA, she was the only woman on the 5 name list. Hrm.
Then, last year, my list looked like this, but the Caldecott was a shocker! SO MANY WOMEN! Morales! Castillo! AMAZING.
It really feels like things are shifting in many ways, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep thinking about the issue. And that doesn’t mean many wonderful titles won’t still fall through the cracks. Don’t ALL good books deserve “buzz?”
Especially for folks getting ready to mock-Caldecott, a list like this can help us look past the “big” books, and see the whole landscape. This is not to suggest that the men we adore aren’t adoration-worthy! Of COURSE they are. (It’s hard to imagine any unworthy title making it through the grueling process of Caldecotting.) I only mean to say that women are worthy too, and somehow they get overlooked.
So help me out! What are the women-illustrated books you love best this year? I’ll start off with a few of my own favorites. The only limits are that the book must be published in 2015, and it must be illustrated by a woman. (Oh, and no self-nominating, please. If your book is awesome, rest assured someone else will think so too. Spread the love! Okay?)
(For starters, my son Mose nominates NIMONA.)
NIMONA, by Noelle Stevenson
As for me, I like so many things. For instance…
MUMMY CAT, by Marcus Ewert, illustrations by Lisa Brown
HOME, by Carson Ellis
THE LITTLE GARDENER, by Emily Hughes
ONE WORD FROM SOPHIA, by Jim Averbeck, illustrations by Yasmeen Ismail
THE WHISPER, by Pamela Zagarenski
THE TEA PARTY IN THE WOODS, by Akiko Miyakoshi
FINDING WINNIE, by Lindsay Mattick, illustrations by Sophie Blackall
THIS IS SADIE, by Sara O’Leary, illustrations by Julie Morstad
THE MOON IS GOING TO ADDY’S HOUSE, by Ida Pearle
BY MOUSE AND FROG, by Deborah Freedman
YARD SALE, by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Lauren Castillo
INTERSTELLAR CINDERELLA, by Deborah Underwood, illustrations by Meg Hunt
TREE OF WONDER, by Kate Messner, illustrations by Simona Mulazzani
NIGHT ANIMALS, by Gianna Marino
A FINE DESSERT, by Emily Jenkins, illustrations by Sophie Blackall
WAIT, by Antoinette Portis
SHARING THE BREAD, by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrations by Jill McElmurray
DOUBLE HAPPINESS, by Nancy Tupper Ling, illustrations by Alina Chau
PENNY AND JELLY, by Maria Gianferrari, illustrations by Thyra Heder
WHEREVER YOU GO, by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrations by Eliza Wheeler
SONG FOR A SUMMER NIGHT, by Robert Heidbreder, illustrations by Qin Leng
DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ANNA HIBISCUS, by Atinuke, illustrations by Lauren Tobia
CHARLOTTE AND THE QUIET PLACE, by Deborah Sosin, illustrations by Sara Wooley
BRIGHT NIGHT, STARRY CITY, by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrations by Aimee Sicuro
SWAN, by Laurel Snyder, illustrations by Julie Morstad
JULIA CHILD, by Erin Hagar, illustrations by Joanna Gorham
IN THE CANYON, by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrations by Ashley Wolff
BOO LA LA, WITCH SPA, by Samantha Berger, illustrations by Isabel Roxas
BEACH HOUSE, by Deanna Caswell, illustrations by Amy JUne Bates
HANSEL AND GRETEL, by Holly Hobbie
THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY, by Kate Beaton
BEASTLY VERSE, by JooHee Yoon
ASK ME, by Bernard Waber, illustrations by Suzy Lee
THE GOOD LITTLE BOOK, by Kyo Maclear, illustrations by Marion Arbona
ORANGUTANKA, by Margarita Engle, illustrations by Renee Kurilla
ROLLER GIRL, by Victoria Jamieson
THE BEAR ATE YOUR SANDWICH, by Julia Sarcone-Roach
ARE WE THERE, YETI? by Ashlyn Anstee
PIG AND PUG, by Lynne Berry, illustrations by Gemma Correll
SUCH A LITTLE MOUSE, by Alice Schertle, illustrations by Stephanie Yue
NINJA BUNNY, by Jennifer Gray Olson
ALPHA, by Isabelle Arsenault
THE MARVELOUS FLUFFY SQUISHY ITYY BITTY, by Beatrice Alemagna
A YEAR WITHOUT MOM, by Dasha Tolstikova
SNOOZEFEST, by Samantha Berger
POOL, by JiHyeon Lee
WHERE ARE MY BOOKS, by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
THE BLUE WHALE, by Jenni Desmond
BOATS FOR PAPA, by Jessixa Bagley
I WILL NEVER GET A STAR ON MRS. BENSON’S BLACKBOARD, by Jennifer K. Mann
EARLY BIRD, by Toni Yuly
IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO FIRST GRADE, DON’T, by Elise Parsley
THE SPECIFIC OCEAN, by Kyo Maclear, illustrations by Katty Maurey
HUNGRY COYOTE, by Cheryl Blackford, illustrations by Laurie Caple
FINDING SPRING, by Carin Berger
THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL, by Joyce Wan
MAPLE AND WILLOW APART, by Lori Nichols
THE FUN BOOK OF SCARY STUFF, by Emily Jenkins, illustrations by Hyewon Yum
RODEO RED, by Maripat Perkins, illustrations by Molly Idle
LENNY AND LUCY, by Philip C. Stead, illustrations by Erin E. Stead
P. ZONKA LAYS AN EGG, by Julie Paschkis
THE BEAR REPORT, by Thyra Heder
BERNICE GETS CARRIED AWAY, by Hannah E. Harrison
ENORMOUS SMALLNESS, by Matthew Burgess, illustrations by Kris Di Giacomo
IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA, by Muon Van, illustrations by April Chu
ONE BEAR EXTRORDINAIRE, by Jayme McGowan
PEACE IS AN OFFERING, by Annette LeBox, illustrations by Stephanie Graegin
SONYA’S CHICKENS, by Phoebe Wahl
VOICE OF FREEDOM, FANNIE LOU HAMER, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrations by Ekua Holmes
WANGARI MAATHAI, THE WOMAN WHO PLANTED MILLIONS OF TREES, by Franck Prevot, illustrations by Aurelia Fronty
WHERE BEAR? by Sophy Henn
THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE, by Emily Winfield Martin
IS MOMMY? by Victoria Chang, illustrations by Marla Frazee
MAGIC TRASH, by J.H.Shapiro, illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS, by Lisa Mantchev, illustrations by Taeeun Yoo
THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, by Amy Parker, illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
MOM SCHOOL, by Rebecca Van Slyke, illustrations by Priscilla Burris
A NEST IS NOISY, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrations by Sylvia Long
See, I had to fly to New York for a conference, but since SWAN was pubbing on Tuesday, I decided to stay for a few extra days, to hang out with my best friend (since second grade, to whom the book is dedicated), and celebrate/lunch with my truly fantastic agent (who also happens to be one of my best friends at this point too). I’ve never been able to do anything like that before.
And oh, it was wonderful!
We popped by Books of Wonder, to see the book in the wild. A total thrill! I’ve never done an event there, and always wanted to visit.
We scooted a few subway stops, to catch up with my friend Kate Milford, at McNally Jackson, where she works (though you may know her better for her amazing award-winning books or her adorable son, Griffin).
I signed MORE copies, but mostly I played “Rabbits” with Griffin, because I HAVE MY PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!
After a bit, I noticed that my feet hurt (I don’t often dress up in heels), so we headed home to eat pizza, read comics, and watch TV in pajama pants, AS ONE DOES ON PUB DAY. Oh, the glamour!
Now I’m home again, in Atlanta, cuddling with my kids, but I have to say, this has been an amazing week. I’m so grateful to everyone who has made it possible. Everyone at Chronicle, most of all. They’ve been truly incredible in their support and creativity and excitement for this book. But I’m also so grateful to all the friends, librarians, booksellers, teachers, neighbors, bloggers, everyone everyone everyone who has written to say MAZEL TOV.
THANK YOU TO YOU. Seriously. Nothing has ever felt quite like this before. It’s been pretty special. Like having an extra birthday.
I’m a lucky girl.
“…Lord of the Flies meets The Giver…”
HUH! WHUT? No big deal or anything…
As you may recall, I’ve been working on this book for a while now. I didn’t know, as I worked on it, whether it would find a home. That was a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time– that sense of risk, the fear of wasting time. I wondered if I was nuts.
But I’m OVER THE MOON. And I was able to head into summer vacation with a huge sense of relief and joy.
(which is probably why I entirely forgot to post about it here)
Sometimes, the things worth reporting are hard things. And you don’t feel like sharing.
I’m okay, we’re okay, everything is okay. But… it feels a little hard.
I choose to believe this is what we call, “Refilling the well.”
My friend Rachel laughed at me recently, when I whined about how I’m not writing well and I’m cranking, and watching too much TV. She said, “Laurel, this is part of your process. You do this a lot.”
I’d like to believe that’s so.
But for now, it’s about to be summer. The boys are finishing school, and I’m about to do a few last school visits before the end of the year. So we’re all heading north. In our new car, which is a 97 Volvo wagon.
I will eat snowballs in Baltimore. I will stare at the harbor. I will wander around, and take the two lanes. And laugh and reset my brain.
As is my process. I guess.
Happy summer, everyone!