understanding mississippi

Hey, y'all. I am not a good self-promoter! I've already been to Square Books, Jr. (thanks ever to my good friends Jill and Leita and everyone at Square Jr. -- is that Kenneth in front of the non-fiction section? Why yes, it is!) -- we had a great time this afternoon. 

I'll be at Turnrow Books in Greenwood, Mississippi tomorrow, August 24, signing Countdown at 3:30pm, and at Lemuria in Jackson, Mississippi at 5pm on Wed., August 25, and then I'm scooting home for some exciting news. Do please come see me at Turnrow or Lemuria, if you can. Would love to see you. 
 I'm combining a week of Mississippi book signings with some family time (you can see, below, how these folks are related to Miss Eula and Ruby Lavender, can you not?? :> They are certainly as wacky as Miss Eula -- I love them)...
... and some heavy-duty research for book two of the Sixties Trilogy. I'll spend a good part of tomorrow with a guide in Greenwood. Today, I drove all over the state, in service of my story. I spoke with Curtis Wilkie in Oxford, where he teaches journalism at Ole Miss. In the sixties, he was a reporter and editor at the Clarksdale Press. I was grateful for his time. His book DIXIE is one of my research books, and he is a marvelous storyteller.

I took these photos in Lexington, Mississippi:
I went to Lexington to get a feel for the town from which Hazel Brannon Smith wrote her fiery and courageous editorials during the sixties. She was simply amazing. I'm in search of stories like these. They will become part of book two.

Mississippi is such a land of paradoxes and contradictions. I love it so, and yet I still try to make sense of it and see it clearly. I have my work cut out for me, in writing for young readers about Freedom Summer and 1964 Mississippi. I want to be fair, frank, just, and as accurate as possible. I don't want to shy away from hard truths. And I want to reveal the stories that are not often showcased in our literature for young readers.The stories about the heroes -- white and black -- who stood for what was right at a time when doing so meant risking their livelihoods, and their lives. 

Come with me this week, and I'll take you to them. What is right? What is truth? And how do we honor it?


  1. Deborah, love the pictures. I hope I get the chance to run into you at DBF. COUNTDOWN is one of my all time favorite books.

  2. Thanks, Lee! I'll be in the children's tent at 2:30 on Saturday of Labor Day weekend -- would love to meet you -- thanks for your kind words.


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