The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Lanie’s sisters

Toni Buzzeo, library goddess and acclaimed children’s book author (and a member of my writing group) tells people that when she was stuck on a draft of a manuscript, I said, “If this were my story, it would be a sister story.”  That comment led to the revision that turned manuscript into this fabulous book.  She often shows a picture of my family to give a little extra context for my remark.

That baby on my brother Chris’s lap is the fifth Kurtz girl.  I know sisters.

I can well remember when the sister scene looked more like this. I’m the one in the middle, already with my mouth open to tell a story, no doubt.  So when Lanie’s family started to take shape in my mind, it’s no wonder that she popped out as a middle kid.  (Yes my older sister did play the cello.)

That little kid on the end now lives in the Minneapolis area, and she and one of her seven sons came to my signing at the American Girl store there.  Thrilldom!

The staff at the store hosted us beautifully, and Joy was treated to a banana split after the signing.  She and Mike said it was fun to have a relative that was so famous (at least for a day).  I thought one banana split was little enough payment for all that material on little sisters that made Emily’s character so easy to write!

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