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

Reading teaches, reading connects

I’m mostly overwhelmed by Twitter (which my son Jonathan introduced me to) but I’m also impressed at the cool things I learn from reading National Wildlife Federation tweets–something I started doing when NWF and American Girl teamed up, thanks to my Lanie books.  A tweet this morning led me to a contest for kids who care about art and endangered species.  I would so quickly have jumped on this when my sons were drawing drawing drawing.

The deadline for entries is March 26th. Winners will be chosen in four categories: Kindergarten-Grade 2, Grades 3-6, Grades 7-9, and Grades 10-12. From these, one national winner will be chosen who will be honored with a special trophy, designed by a gifted young artist. The national winner will also be flown to and recognized at a reception in Washington, DC in May.

 Enter the Endangered Species Day Art Contest today!

 For more exciting information about Endangered Species Day, visit

 Reading tweets this morning made the think about the power of words: how magical and weird that 140 black marks on a white screen can make me FEEL things.

When I was in Norway, I was struck by how words connect people across continents and across generations.  These two marvelous girls have lives strung across the United States, the Persian Gulf, Europe…and I like to believe that the books of mine where I struggle to give a voice to third culture kids will be a part of their inspiration and comfort, now that I’ve made an author visit to their school. 

Their dad (a teacher at the school in Stavanger) and I had a fascinating book connection, too.  When he saw my book ONLY A PIGEON, it brought back memories of his dad, raising pigeons in the NYC area, caring tenderly for them as Andualem, growing up in Ethiopia, does in the book.

I’ll carry with me the image, now, of his father, mourning a pigeon (who was attacked by a hawk), trying to sew up the wound to save the bird’s life–just as I’ll carry the joy of exploring the wild, wonderful rocks and forests of Norway that Lindsay, the other teacher in this picture, described and showed me so well.

Imagine…a word without books.

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