thank you, politics & prose

It's been this kind of week at home: simple meals (potatoes and asparagus with a bit of spinach and a lot of butter and salt and pepper), fighting a head cold, lots of sleep, lots of trying to figure out how to rearrange what's left from the upheaval of kids moving out and away (I've still got boxes of each of their childhoods, here and there, along with the stray piece of furniture not picked up yet), as well as the rearrangement of space -- I have an extra bedroom now upstairs, and a new bedroom downstairs. Office? Yoga and meditation space? Exercise room? Blissfully empty space? I keep pondering.
I haven't done much writing this week. The end of spring travel is always overfull, anyway; I always feel like I'm living on tilt by May, as June becomes a sweet, sweet release from the road, just in time for the hot, hot of Atlanta to come and stay for the summer.

But that's okay. Even in the midst of the overfull, there is such great joy at meeing good friends along the travel way. Like my friends at Politics & Prose last week. I didn't get many photos, but I wanted to give a big shout-out to those booksellers who perennially put my books into the hands of parents, teachers, kids, and more. And Politics & Prose is special.
And so are the folks who come out to support the store, and my books. That's Judy Hijikata, a fellow Book Guild member and executive director of The Reading Connection in Washington, D.C. Next to her is Charlie Young, Scholastic's marvelous director of sales for the D.C. area (and beyond!). Don't forget, Charlie -- road trip, you and me. I know where the good catfish joints are in Mississippi...
This is Louise Simone, librarian at The Sheridan School in D.C., and next to her, Tami Lewis Brown, whose new book, Soar, Elinor! comes out this fall -- exciting! It's Tami's first book, and it is gorgeous -- and beautifully written.

Tami and Louise are fellow graduates of Vermont College as well. We weren't in the same classes, but we've gotten to know one another, and we stay in touch. You might remember photos of us last year, after the Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award event? We went to the Mayflower for high tea!

 I didn't snap one photo of all those kids and teachers, or of other friends who came to say hey, or even of me and Gussie Lewis, who arranged this wonderful signing, with sixth graders from John Eaton School and students from Sheridan as well. I didn't snap one photo of lunch after with Jewell and Charlie and Gussie and Mary Alice and Deborah... le sigh. I wish I had those photos, but at the time, it was all about the stories, all about friendship.

 For which I am grateful. From the publication of my first book, Freedom Summer, in 2001, to the publication of Countdown in 2010, Politics & Prose has been a staunch supporter of my work. I lived in the D.C. area when my first books were published, and Politics & Prose championed me as a local author, and brought me to the store over and over, with each new book. We got to know one another. And the rest is... well... history.

Thank you, thank you, you independent bookstore, you, a great good place with a sense of humor, a heart, and a wonderful creative spark. A place where folks work smart and hard and go the extra mile, every day. A haven for readers and writers and stories. I am proud to be your friend. Thanks for including me in your generous embrace.

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