This winter I’m mentoring a young student who is one of only 15 students selected for The Telling Room’s Young Writers and Leaders Program. These are international high school students from Somalia, Rwanda, Jordan, Iraq, Congo, Burundi, and Afghanistan and are now attending one of Portland, Maine’s high schools. They’ve all come to write a story based on their own lives. Each student is working one-on-one with a professional writer. Mentor and Mentee. This is an experience I am savoring, as I do free writes with my talented mentee and begin to see the story she wants to tell. And this work will result in an anthology of students’ stories as was a book I often bring to teachers when I visit schools. The book is I Remember Warm Rain: 15 Teenagers 15 Coming to America Stories. This is an exquisite story collection. And these students are in the process of making a book of their own.
I signed my new Carolrhoda Picture Book, LUIS PAINTS THE WORLD at the Lerner Booth at the the American Library Association conference in Boston. I met librarians and writers from all the places I’ve lived as I signed LUIS, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. My favorite thing to do was meet people who asked me to sign a book for a child not yet born.
Just in from ALA-Booklist for LUIS PAINTS THE WORLD: “The story is inspired by an art program in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city of residents from all over the world, who share their stories and traditions through mural art. Its beautiful message will touch the hearts of readers and maybe inspire them to create art of their own.”
To the left is an illustration by David Small from Sarah Stewart’s book, The Library. I got some notecards with this illustration at the ALA conference this weekend in Boston and it makes me feel like a kid and how easy it would be to slip into this person, walking while reading with a stash as back-up. That was me.