This week I’ve been in a virtual residency at Hamline University, where I’m part of the MFA faculty for their low-residency program in writing children’s and teens literature. The days are long and exhausting, but also so very creatively nourishing right now. It’s a blessing to be immersed in imagination, whether by helping students work on their skills in workshop or by listening to lectures and follow-up conversations with our faculty and visiting authors, like Tracey Baptiste. Anyway, we’re unpacking theme this summer, doing deep dives into all the ways that theme takes shape across genres, age groups, and individual styles. It’s been wonderful so far.
Tomorrow – Thursday July 16 – I’ll also be part of a virtual gathering with SCBWI called Sticks and Stones and the Stories We Tell. Ten authors and illustrators – all well-known to you – will be sharing our personal encounters with racism in the publishing industry and how we responded in both our work and in our lives. Should be good. It’s open for everyone, so I hope you’ll tune in.
In book news – Merci Suárez Changes Gears is part of B&N’s summer reading program. If there’s a young reader in your life who’s looking for something to read, please point them to this list and maybe earn a free book! Meanwhile, Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, the sequel, has moved into production. I finished responding to the copyeditor comments last week and just got a sneak peek at the cover by Joe Cepeda. It’s gorgeous. Think beautiful blue… like that oil pastel color that reminds you of Vincent Van Gogh. The book will hit shelves April 6, 2021, so stay on the lookout. (That seems so far away, right?)
Finally, I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, English or Spanish editions. The publication date on my picture book is right around the corner on September 8, and it’s received two terrific starred reviews from Kirkus and PW. Evelyn will also be part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record program, an all-world read scheduled for October 29th, this year. You can sign the pledge to participate in that program here.
OK, I have to head to “class” now, which means sitting in my chair for the next many, many hours. I hope you’re staying cool somewhere – with a good book, of course.