January 9th, 2007

head shot

Wrapping Up Another Year...

...in the life of a book.

A SOCK IS A POCKET FOR YOUR TOES: A POCKET BOOK (illustrated by the amazing Robin Preiss Glasser, published by HarperCollins) has been on the shelves since 2004.

I delight in delivering it to babies, reading it to school kids, signing a stack for generous grandmamas.

Rather than dwelling on the fact that this book really, really needs a sibling (and I’ve got a neat little stack of eggs… errr, manuscripts… just aching to be put between covers), I thought I’d celebrate the highlights of this book, this year:

SOCK is a 2006-2007 Children’s Crown Gallery finalist, along with the twangy BUDDY: THE STORY OF BUDDY HOLLY by Anne Bustard, the lovely WHEN YOU WERE BORN by Dianna Hutts Aston and a bunch of other sweet reads. A very nice tip of the hat indeed.

The book earned back its advance this year – a neat little caper that means I am no longer in arrears to the venerable Harper Collins. (AND that I will get a tuppence every six months or so – a pointed prod to get my other manuscripts in the post, pronto.)

Last spring, I partnered with creative whiz JJ Langston to do a cooking class for kids based on the book. Think pita pockets, fruit tarts, fortune cookies. We greeted the young chefs at Gina’s Kitchen (aka Cookabilities) with bookmarks and baking soda. Trés fun.

In July, I spoke at the monthly meeting of Austin’s SCBWI chapter. I rattled on about the joy of school visits – using my Pocket Presentation as Defense Exhibit #1. What a great day! I learned as much as I lent, and got all sorts of warm fuzzies from local literary luminaries.

I took the book to the little burg of Odem, Texas, in September, as the featured author at their first-ever Children’s Literature Festival. The book-loving folks of Odem had raised a pile of money to build themselves a library, and it was a joy to spend the day there with the Odem Library Board and all the pre-kindergartners in town, reading and rifling through my pockets.

Illustrator Extrordinaire Robin Preiss Glasser was all over the NY Times Best-Seller list this year – not with SOCK, but who cares?!! She could illustrate a toaster manual and make people swoon in wonder. Her latest big splashes are FANCY NANCY by Jane O’Connor and OUR 50 STATES by, ahem, Lynn Cheney.

The wildly productive and generous Cynthia Leitich Smith has invited me to do an author’s interview for her kid lit site. I’m honored, and psyched to reflect and expound. OK, so this technically falls under the heading of 2007 rather than 2006 but what better way to close out last year’s diary.

Moving forward…