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

Old and new

This summer, I loved my time at the Culture and Heritage camp organized by Abshiiro Kids and other volunteers near DC–and it gave me one of my favorite fall stories.  I was walking with Noh and his class–the rabbits–to the classroom where I was going to tell stories and talk about growing up in Ethiopia.  I looked down and said to Noh, “I’m a very tall rabbit.”

The little girl next to him looked up and said, “You’re a very OLD rabbit.”

Many times this fall, I’ve felt like Old Rabbit.  But, hey, old rabbits are tough rabbits.  My mom told me today she’s not elderly…so I am most definitely not elderly even if I am old rabbit.

Old memories are great memories.

Last week, I did author visits in schools in Grand Forks, ND.  Just before the flood wiped out several schools–including Lincoln School, where my children were elementary students–an artist painted murals with kids.  The mural from Lincoln School was recreated in Phoenix School, where I spoke last week.


I’d forgotten that Lincoln School painted me into their mural reading my first major book, published while my kids were students there.

Sweet memory.

Old friends are great friends.

Mary Casanova and Yvette LaPierre and I met at the children’s literature conference at UND.  Once Yvette rode with me and two of my kids to a writer conference in Minneapolis and vowed never to have kids.

But here she was at the Ethiopia Reads event with her daughter.  The only writing she’s been doing is her PhD thesis.  Mary and I were both at the event talking about our American Girl books, though.  Mary wrote the stories to go with McKenna, doll of the year 2012.

The U.S. part of Ethiopia Reads was sparked in Grand Forks.  One of the middle schools where I spoke has raised over $18,000 over the years to share books and reading with kids in Ethiopia.

And the spark sparks on.

Old connections are precious connections.

So are new ones.

My last speaking of the year will be in Seattle, one of Ethiopia Reads’s newest events but one with a lot of oomph.

An Ethiopian Seattle artist has put a lot of time and care into Open Hearts Big Dreams 2012.  People from all over the world have donated things for the auction and dinner.

Old efforts and new efforts ripple together, creating a river that changes the world.

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