my scholastic family, ala midwinter, revolution

And so it begins again, a new book to shepherd into the world. Here are some catch-up shots from ALA Midwinter in January, in Philadelphia, PA. Here are some of the inside pages of REVOLUTION that my editor David L. and I were working with up to the last second, trying to get just-right, sitting at rehearsal the morning of the Scholastic brunch. We'd done this at NCTE, too, the previous November, going over a first-pass of these same pages, looking at design and making some hard decisions. I arrived in Philadelphia and took public transportation to the gig:

Readers' theater with Julia Donaldson, Jon Muth, Rod Philbrick, and Cynthia Lord
Fuzzy photo of Scholastic conference goddess Lizette Serrano, Lucy Christopher, Natalie Lloyd, Lori Benton and me, at the Scholastic brunch.
Barry Cunningham of Chicken House Press with Lori Benton and Lucy Christopher.
Me with my good friend and fabulous teacher Nancy Johnson from Bellingham, Washington.
David Levithan and I rarely have our photo taken together. Here we are, the two people who know REVOLUTION inside and out right now.
Teacher extraordinaire (and great cook) Dean Schneider came (with the equally fabulous Robin Smith) to one of the very first events I ever did for any of my books, at Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, in 2002. I love Robin and Dean. Such champions of books and authors and young readers.
Oh, these women. Maria Gentle, Sharon Grover, Joan Kindig, fellow Children's Book Guild of D.C. members. We've known each other for a long, long time.
Susannah Richards! She shows up and surprises me, every time. I love that.
There's nobody like Candace Greene, Scholastic Fashion Plate and Conference Guru.
Me'n'Cyndi Lord
Arthur Levine and moi, The fuzzy people
Truly the Conference Goddess, Lizette calls us all to order.
Beautiful Philadelphia
Beautiful John Mason
On the way home

It's exciting and nerve-wracking to send forth a new book. For years it belongs just to you, then to you and your editor, then the circle widens, and your publishing family begins to read the manuscript and design the pages and put together the sending-forth plan. Then, pretty soon, the book is out in the world without you, and it doesn't belong to you anymore. It belongs to whoever reads it, then. The reading of the story you've created brings the tale full circle. My Jim always says that story -- like music -- is dialogical. It requires a listener, or a reader, to be complete.

Midwinter was our first coming out. We didn't have galleys yet, but we could talk about the book. Galleys arrived this week, though, and we'll have them for TLA next week -- Texas Library Association in Austin, April 8-10. I'll be there, signing and speaking and greeting and sticking close to my Scholastic family as we help this new book make its first real steps into the world.

I'm going to pack my Nikon. I'm getting better with my phone camera, but I really want people to be in focus! And I really want to remember to just soak up this special time. I am a slow writer. It takes me time to figure out a story and do a good-enough job writing it, revising it, writing some more. Here I am, four years after the publication of COUNTDOWN, ready to introduce readers to book two of the Sixties Trilogy.


  1. I love all your photos with some of my favorite authors: Cynthia Lord, Natalie Lloyd ( I adore Snicker of Magic) and of course, my great friend and teacher, Nancy Johnson. We go back all the way to the 90s. Much good luck with Revolution. I can't wait to read it. Kathleen Armstrong

  2. Kathleen, do you remember when I visited you and worked with your sixth graders for a week, and I wore a hat the whole time? :> I'm not sure how I came to know Nancy Johnson, but I think it was through you and Marianne Richardson -- boy, those were long-ago days, eh? I will never forget your kindnesses to me. I learned so much while teaching with your team. Love, Debbie

    1. Just want to get in on this Nancy Johnson love fest! And to shout out a long-delayed congrats to you, Debbie, on Revolution! AND to greet Kathleen -- we met at a lit circles event, as you say, "back all the way to the 90s." All connections made through Nancy.

    2. Debbie, of course I remember that wonderful week. You also worked with fifth grade and did a teacher after school workshop for the English Dept. I brag about knowing you and our time together with my classes all the time. Those were great times. AND Katherine, I do remember meeting you with Nancy here in St. Louis when you had a long layover at the airport and we met for coffee. It's been ages.

  3. Oh geez . . . Thanks "team." Like Debbie beautifully articulated . . . It's all dialogical. Writing-Listening-Reading-Writing. Friends-Teachers-Writers/Readers-Friends. REVOLUTION-ary!

  4. I love this Nancy Johnson LOVE FEST! Nancy, you have connected so many of us, for so long, going so far back, we can't even remember who-started-what in our ongoing conversations, but we know how special you are. Thank you. I think one of the hallmarks of a good teacher is that she shows us how to make these connections and leads by example to keep them going. You taking the time to meet me for coffee at NCTE this past November, Nancy -- precious. You bringing me to Singapore, you setting up supper so Katherine and I could meet each other in Seattle, and much more... long may we follow your example and share it with others. What a rich life we lead, girlfriends. Kathleen, you bought me a HAT in St. Louis. I wore it out, too. :> xoxoxo


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